Cracks as Reps spokesman, Minority caucus fight over Pantami

A crack has emerged in the House of Representatives on clamour for resignation or sack of Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Ali Pantami, over his alleged support for terrorist groups.

While the spokesman Benjamin Kalu said the House was ready to hear a motion by the Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu on the needs to suspend or sack the Minister, the Minority caucus asked the Speaker to forward Elumelu’s position as resolution of the House to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Caucus is also demanding an apology from Kalu for engaging in what it described as personal attack on Elumelu.

While coming under matters of privilege at Wednesday’s plenary, Elumelu had called for resignation of the Minister for alleged link to terrorist groups and past comments supporting terrorist groups.

In noting Elumelu’s position, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had informed he was coming under a wrong order and failed to inform the House how Pantami’s alleged link breached his privilege.

The matter was again raised on the floor on Thursday with members expressing concerns about media report which they claimed misrepresented what transpired.

The Nation had reported Kalu said the House was prepared to hear Elumelu’s motion if properly presented.

But, in a statement by spokesman of the caucus, Francis Ottah Agbo, the Minority caucus dismissed the position of the House spokesman.

It insisted the motion by the Minority Leader was properly done in accordance with the rules of the House.

The statement reads partly: “We demand that Hon. Kalu should withdraw his statement and tender an unreserved apology to the Minority Leader and Nigerians for misrepresenting the rules of the House.

“Our caucus, standing with millions of Nigerians, also demands that the Speaker should immediately act on the prayers of the motion, by conveying same as the position of the House to Mr. President, having accepted the appropriateness of the procedure and taken legislative note of the prayers therein.

“As a caucus, we stand behind the Minority Leader in insisting that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, should resign or be removed by President Muhammadu Buhari, as his continued stay in office poses great threat to our national security.

“Insecurity is blind to creed and party colourations and this underscores why the Caucus will resist any attempt by anyone to politicize a clear existential threat to our motherland”.