The House of Representatives was divided on Thursday over the ban on Twitter.
After the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values led by Hon. Olusegun Odebunmi submitted its report, Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase, who presided over the session, pointed out that the committee ought to have expanded the scope of its investigation by inviting the National Security Adviser (NSA) since it involves national security.
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While contributing to the debate, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, Deputy Minority Leader, faulted the committee’s report, saying it did not address the issues at stake.
He recalled that the committee was given three core areas in the mandate to include; determining the circumstances surrounding the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, the legal authority upon which the federal government relied on the ban it, and to invite the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
He said the committee failed to address the issues.
“None of the five recommendations has answered the questions. The committee has not done a prudent work. I would say that this report should not be considered, let the committee go and do a thorough job,” he said.
He said there was need to amend the committee’s recommendations to call for the lifting of the ban of the microblogging site, considering the negative consequences it may have on Nigerians.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila waded in, insisting that by the mandate given the committee, it had substantially complied.
He said during the consideration of such a report; “we can reject, we can amend. If you are not satisfied with a particular recommendation, amend it”.
But apparently not satisfied with the position of the speaker, Wase begged to see that the house do not hurry to make an erroneous decision.
He said, “They needed to have exhausted more avenues. Nothing stops them from inviting the NSA. They needed to have gone further.”
The deputy speaker insisted, even as he argued that none of the panel’s recommendations was categorical on whether the federal government did the right thing, or acted in error.
After back and forth debates on the report which generated heated tension, the deputy speaker eventually put the report to voice vote and it was voted and adopted.
The House of Representatives’ joint committee on Committees on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Telecommunications, Information and Technology, Justice, and National Security and Intelligence were asked to investigate circumstances surrounding the Federal Government’s suspension of Twitter.