Twitter Ban Splits House Of Reps As PDP Members Stage Walkout

Twitter Ban Splits House Of Reps As PDP Members Stage Walkout

Twitter Ban Splits House Of Reps As PDP Members Stage Walkout

The House of Representatives was on Tuesday divided over the position of the House on the suspension of microblogging site, Twitter, by the federal government of Nigeria.

Members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus of House dared the government as they vowed to continue to tweet despite the directive by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) that violators of the ban risk prosecution.

Speaking on behalf of the Caucus, Hon. Kingsley Chinda challenged the government to arrest the opposition lawmakers on behalf of Nigerians.

“We have decided to offer ourselves, the government should not arrest Nigerians, we are their representatives, they should come and arrest us. The minister should tell is when and in which court he wants to prosecute us, we shall all be there to face the prosecution,” Chinda said.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, has in his welcome speech mandated the House Committees on Communication; Justice; Information and Culture, and National Security and Intelligence to immediately commence an investigation of the suspension.

Specifically, the committees were mandated to unravel 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.

The joint committee was also mandated 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 of the operations of Twitter in Nigeria, and to report to the House within 10 days.

The report of the joint committee, according to Gbajabimila, will guide further action by the House of Representatives on the matter.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the Speaker, some members of the PDP Caucus in the House consequently staged a workout from the chamber.

Leader of the caucus, Hon. Chinda, who had raised a point of order and asked the speaker to add prayer to the setting up of the committees to probe the Twitter ban, urged the federal government to rescind its decision pending when the interface was concluded.

But the speaker rejected the point of order, saying that a decision had already been taken on the matter and a joint committee was mandated to probe the circumstances of the ban.

Gbajabiamila, therefore, asked Chinda to resume his seat.

The PDP caucus, who later briefed journalists on the reasons for their action, noted the decision to set up a committee was solely an idea of the leadership of the House, as it was not arrived at through a debate on the floor of the House.

Chinda, who led other PDP members to the press briefing, said the position of the caucus was to demand that the executive arm of government should rescind its decision on the suspension of Twitter, noting that the matter ought to have been subjected to a debate on the floor of the House.

Source: Leadership

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