The United States (US) may have begun mounting serious diplomatic pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack embattled minister of communications and digital economy Dr Isa Pantami for his supportive views on Boko Haram.
Pantami has been severely criticised for his link to Boko Haram terrorists group and since his views were made public, there have been calls by Nigerians both home and abroad for President Buhari to relieve Pantami of his ministerial position.
A member of the House of Representative representing Esan North East and Esan South East of Edo State, Mr Sergius Ogun gave a hint to this mounting diplomatic pressure on Nigeria to fire Pantami.
In an interview with our correspondent, on Friday, in Abuja, Ogun said with Nigeria’s call for military support from the UG government to tackle terrorism, the US government would demand Pantami’s sack as a condition for rendering the military help.
He said “Where I stand, I believe the minister should resign! Whether they play politics with it or not, he would go. I don’t think he will stay beyond the end of this year. Now, we are already approaching America, so will America tolerate these things? They are going to give you terms, if they are going to come anywhere near here. And as it is now, we don’t have the power to dictate, anything they tell us now we will accept. So, for me, if he doesn’t go today, he will go tomorrow, it’s not an issue. But I would have thought that the President should have released him.”
Our correspondent gathered that the US government is uncomfortable with Pantami’s continues presence in the Buhari‘s government especially with the increasing terrorists attacks in the Northeastern part of the country.
The lawmaker who bemoaned Federal Government’s dismal handling of the security situation in the country urged the electorates to unite and fight the common enemy of the Nigerian State.
According to Ogun “we fought for the removal of the service chiefs, and there are new service chiefs, has anything changed? Our motion was take out the service chiefs and bring in competent ones. So, what we are saying is that we are not sure that these ones are competent. Take this one’s out, who else will come. I think it’s just the system. Our resolutions are not binding on the executive.”
He lamented that despite the huge resources invested in the procurement of arms, nothing significant seemed to have been achieved in the war on terrorism adding that despite efforts to probe the way the approved funds were spent, it continued to meet road blocks.
“As a committee member, you are not privy to some of this information. But now they have set up an adhoc committee for purchase of arms, with the Senate and the chairman Senate committee on the Army said there was no need to probe. Senator Ndume said this week there was no need for probe. And if anything, the Army needs more money. Granted, we don’t have any problem with that but we need to know what you are buying with the money. Nobody is happy with the situation in the country today. So, if we are sure we know what they are buying, we can make the sacrifice and give them the money so that people can sleep with both eyes closed.
He continued “but how do we know that when we tell them to account for it, they will say this is a security matter? It cannot be debated in the whole house; in committee you cannot debate it. That is where the challenge is,” he further said.