Former Assistant Director with the Department of State Services, Dennis Amachree, has said the secret police informed the Federal Government and the National Assembly of the past radical pro-Taliban views of embattled Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami before his confirmation as minister in 2019.
This came as the Federal Executive Council, FEC, said the alleged link of the minister with Al-Qaeda and Taliban some years ago was not discussed at its meeting yesterday.
These came on a day the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, at plenary, moved for the immediate resignation or sack of the minister for showing sympathy to the deadly activities of insurgents.
Amachree, who spoke while featuring on PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable, yesterday, however, said the minister must have been confirmed by the National Assembly due to a lot of factors, including federal character balancing.
Pantami, a former director-general with the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, is the only member of the Federal Executive Council from Gombe State.
Amachree also said the minister should resign as it was difficult to deradicalise someone of his kind.
He said DSS had information on all individuals of interest, adding that the minister’s past extremist views were communicated to the Federal Government and the legislature.
“There is no information that escapes the DSS. We have all of it, all. When I was working there, we keep a catalogue of anybody of interest that comes up to limelight in this country.
“During the vetting process for anybody to be appointed a minister or commissioner or anything, your name is sent to the DSS for vetting. They check your background up to the extent of your grandmother.
‘’They check your schools up to the extent of your primary school. And of course, they keep a tab on you online and offline. We get a lot from open source intelligence and I can tell you that in Pantami’s case, we have it.
“But there is a political angle to it. When somebody is being appointed, if the security agencies see that there is something wrong with his name, they will send it to the appointing agency.