The Nigerian Senate has said that nobody or organization has approached it with solid evidence of terrorism sympathy on the embattled Minister for Communication & Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami.
The academic turned Minister has been facing a running battle with the public since audio clips of his admiration for the deadly Al Qaeda group as well as Osama Bin Laden was circulated to the public via social media.
Many Nigerians have called for his resignation and blamed the Senate for not doing a proper screening and security check.
However the Senate Chairman on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru said in an interview with journalists that the red chamber shouldn’t be blamed for Pantami’s appointment. He said that no petition or security report was received against him.
“To start with, there is nothing that disqualified him from contesting an election based on the constitution of Nigeria.
“The Senate can only act based on the information at its disposal as of the time of the screening. We have not acted in any way against the law. No security agency approached us to give us any information that could indict him, both at the time of his appointment and even now. The Senate does not have the power to remove a minister. We can only screen, based on the information available to us and based on the report that we have from the security agencies.
“There is no way we could act based on social media reports. It is only the President who could decide to appoint and remove ministers. As far as we are concerned, we only hear people talk about the issue we don’t have any fact about the so-called allegation. We don’t have any fact, we did our job based on facts available to us.’’
He went further to say: “Those who are talking have not pointed to a particular law upon which he ought to be removed as a minister.
“Even if the information about him now, assuming it was available then (during screening), does it constitute a disqualifying factor of being a Minister under the Nigerian law?”