Legislature

#TwitterBan: ‘You cannot use the idea of free speech to destroy me’ – Femi Gbajabiamila says Social media must be regulated

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has described social media as the most potent weapon for good and evil, which must be regulated.

He said though the constitution had guaranteed freedom of speech and expression, it must not, however, be at the expensive of national and individual security.

The lawmaker said this while featuring on a Channels TV programme “Mr. Speaker Chats with Young Nigerians”, on Sunday. According to him; the National Assembly would have long enacted a law for the regulation of the social media  but for the opposition that had always greeted the move by Nigerians.

He said:  “The social media is the most potent weapon for good and for evil. While we welcome the good, we must prepare over the evil. You cannot use the idea of free speech to destroy me.”

“Most democracies in the world today are making efforts to regulate the social media and the National Assembly has been considering regulating the social media for long. But each time the issue comes up, Nigerians kick against it.

“It is something we need to do because we have a responsibility to protect every single citizen in this country and that is what we must do,”

“We are elected by the people to represent them and ordinarily, we should be on their side. But this is not a beauty contest. You must listen to all sides. Government says Twitter poses threat to national security. What are the information available to them that we are not privy to?

“They have also said that it is not about the President’s tweet which was taken down but a mere coincidence. We are listening to government because we have heard from the people.

“We agree that there is freedom of speech but the government is saying that freedom is not absolute. Even at that, the freedom can be protected but not at instance of the country.

“I am happy that twitter and government are already talking. At the end, I hope that the issue will be resolved in the best way possible,” the speaker said.

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