Estimated Reading Time: 2
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the House of Representatives have staged a walkout over the refusal of the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to grant their prayer on the Federal Government’s Twitter Ban.
Gbajabiamila had earlier asked relevant committees of the House to investigate the matter within 10 days.
Leader of the PDP caucus, Kingsley Chinda, much later, raised a point of order to make an additional prayer that the House asks the Federal Government to lift the ban pending when the House carries out the probe.
Chinda noted that the implication is that the ban would remain for 10 days, which means the rights of Nigerians would be kept in abeyance during the period.
Gbajabiamila, however, cited part of the Standing Orders of the House stating that a matter that had been concluded by the parliament cannot be revisited for a debate.
The Speaker, therefore, ruled Chinda out of order, a decision that did not go down well the members of the opposition.
Insisting on speaking and several leaders of the House shutting him down, Chinda led other PDP members out of the chamber.
Speaking earlier during his welcome address, the Speaker who affirmed that the suspension on Twitter in Nigeria has generated fierce debate, mandated the House Committees on Communication, Justice, Information & Culture, and National Security and Intelligence to immediately commence an investigation to determine: the circumstances of the decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria to suspend the operations of Twitter in Nigeria; and the legal authority for the ban on the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
He also mandated the Committees to invite the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to brief the House of Representatives on the objectives, intent, and duration of the suspension on the operations of Twitter in Nigeria, and to report to the House within 10 days.
Gbajabiamila said: “The House of Representatives recognises that Twitter, like other social media networks, is an important tool for communication and commerce in Nigeria, particularly amongst the younger generation who have used these networks for enterprise and innovation with great success.
“The House also recognises that as social media has been a tool for good, it can also be a tool for bad actors. As such, the government has a legitimate interest in ensuring that these platforms are not used to commit vile actions against individuals and the State.