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Nigerians criticise Gbajabiamila for joining a #TwitterSpaces Conversation

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila attracted criticism on Sunday after he defied the ongoing Twitter Ban by the Nigerian Government to join a Twitter spaces conversation on Sunday. 

The Nigerian government had on June 5 announced the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria. 

Following the ban, government officials and government agencies stopped their patronage of the micro-blogging platform. 

Nigerians have however continued to access the social media network through the use of Virtual Private Network (VPN). 

On Sunday, the Speaker raised eyebrows when he joined a Twitter Spaces Conversation hosted by Rinu Oduala, a rights advocate and community organiser. 

The conversation, ‘#Vote or Protest’ had over a thousand Nigerians in attendance and had Femi Falana, Oby Ezekwesili and Tari Taylaur as Speakers. 

Although the Speaker did not speak throughout his appearance on the platform, most of the Nigerians who were on the space with him criticised his presence since he was a key stakeholder in the government’s ban of the platform. 

According to a Twitter user with handle @dontee______, joining the conversation was “rubbish” and the Speaker should “be removed” because he “shutdown someone who made a motion for the revocation of Twitter Ban”. 

Another commenter, @uche_alua said it was ridiculous that the Speaker joined a space conversation coordinated by an activist to probably eavesdrop. 

Part of the allegations laid against the Speaker was that he tacitly supported the ban on the suspension after he refused to condemn the decision. 

Speaking on suspension back in June, Gbajabiamila described social media as the most potent weapon for good and evil, which must be regulated. 

“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,” he said. 

“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.” 

Meanwhile, while speaking at the conversation, Falana weighed in on the indictment of Abba Kyari, the deputy commissioner of police, and said the US government will get the embattled Kyari to face trial whether he likes it or not. 

A US court had issued a warrant of arrest for Kyari over his alleged involvement in the $1.1 million fraud committed by Hushpuppi, self-confessed international fraudster. 

According to a US court document, Kyari was allegedly bribed by Hushpuppi to arrest one Kelly Chibuzor Vincent, a co-fraudster, to stop him from hindering a scam deal. 

He said Kyari has been above the law in Nigeria for a very long time, adding that a government that engaged in “gangsterism” while dealing with secessionists wants to follow due process in Kyari’s case. 

“Whether Abba Kyari likes it or not, the Americans are going to get him to stand trial,” he said.

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