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Lai Mohammed says, Pantami not discussed @ FEC meeting

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has kept mute over the scandal rocking the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami.

The minister has been under pressure to step down over allegations that he endorsed Taliban and Al-Qaeda extremist sects in the past.

The angry reactions to the utterances made the minister to own up, blaming immaturity and limited knowledge for his views back then.

The debate over the issue and the calls for Dr Pantami’s resignation have already taken regional and religious slants.

Pantami attended Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting, said the issue was not raised at all.

Mohammed was asked whether the council discussed the matter and whether the government was comfortable with its burden on its image.

Mohammed responded: “I’m not going into the issue of whether government is comfortable or not. I will answer your questioned directly. It was not discussed at the council meeting.”

The communication minister had said during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annur Mosque in Abuja last Saturday that he now knows better about some of the comments he made in the past.

Embattled Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on Wednesday, attended the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by the President, Muhammadu Buhari.

This is despite the overwhelming call for the resignation or sacking of the minister over his past controversial comments on terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

But an unperturbed Pantami virtually attended the FEC meeting with venue at Aso Villa in Abuja.

The FEC meeting was the first to be presided over by the President after his 15-day medical trip to London, United Kingdom.

Pantami said the current campaign against him is politically motivated.

He said: “For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.

“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.

“Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.

“I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”

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