Naija News reports that Nigerians had called on the Buhari govt to sack Isa Pantami for backing terrorism some years back.
But the presidency vowed not to sack Isa Pantami while insisting that the minister has apologized for his views on Boko Haram, Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Speaking in an interview with The Punch, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Dr. Ajibola Basiru, said nobody, group or organisation has approached the upper chamber of the National Assembly with any concrete evidence that could warrant the sacking of Pantami.
He also stated that the Senate should not be blamed for clearing Pantami for appointment.
Basiru added that the current controversy around the minister does not constitute any grounds for his sacking which only Buhari had the exclusive power to do.
Basiru said, “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.
“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?”
The senate spokesperson also rejected calls from some Nigerians on President Buhari to sack Pantami based on moral grounds.
He said, “All over the World, controversy is part of political existence. There is a difference between legality and political consideration which is not in the purview of the National Assembly.
“He was screened publicly and there was no objection. The exercise was aired live on the national television stations. The Constitution stipulates requirements to be a Minister and he hasn’t run foul of any as far as we are concerned.”