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Reps summon Lai Mohammed over Twitter ban

The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to explain the rationale behind the suspension of Twitter's operations…

The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, over the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, announced this at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday.

He said the action of the Federal Government has been generating reactions across the country.

He said since the ban, he has been inundated with requests for intervention.

“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.

“The proper role of the legislature in circumstances like this is first to peel back the layers of the decision-making process to unravel the issues until we develop an understanding of the why and the how of executive decisions.

“Following that, the legislature must make sure that regulatory and enforcement actions by the government are in accordance with the laws of the land, that due process of law has been followed to the latter and that the outcomes of regulatory decisions do not result in adverse consequences for the country and all our people.”

House to listen to agitations of  Nigerians

The Speaker said while the House will listen to the agitation of the people, it will also “hear from the government so that from the abundance of information, we reach the level of awareness that allows us to discharge our role dispassionately.”

“It is in service of our obligations under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and our moral duty to the Nigerian people, that the leadership of the House has decided to mandate the House Committees on Communication, Justice, Information and Culture, and National Security and Intelligence to immediately commence an investigation to determine:

“a. The circumstances of the decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria to suspend the operations of Twitter in Nigeria; and
b. The legal authority for the ban on the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.”

According to him, the committees are additionally mandated to invite 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 ten (10) days.

He said the report of the committees will guide further action by the House of Representatives on the matter.

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