House of Reps summons Lai Mohammed over Twitter suspension

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Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed

Members of the House Representatives have resolved to invite the Minister of Culture and Information, Lai Mohammed in a bid to investigate the legality of the Twitter ban by the Federal Government.

The decision was reached on Tuesday during plenary.

The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his speech directed the House Committees on Justice, Commerce, and Information to investigate the process that led to the suspension of the microblogging site.

The Speaker said the House recognises that Twitter is a very important means of communication.

According to him, the social networking service has been used for both good and bad and the legislature must make sure that the policies of government are in accordance with the law and do not have adverse consequences on the people.

He directed relevant committees of the House to constitute a single committee and commence investigation into the circumstances surrounding the ban, and its legality.

The committee, however, agreed to invite the Minister of Information on the matter.

While the deliberation was ongoing, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers walked out after its caucus leader, Kingsley Chinda was ruled out of order by the Speaker amid the rowdy session.

Mr. Chinda had prayed the House to urge the Federal Government to suspend the ban while the House investigation is ongoing as directed by the Speaker.

This comes after the Federal Government of Nigeria had last week announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed while announcing the suspension cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are “capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

Following the announcement, telecom operators in Nigeria blocked the microblogging site Twitter, making users unable to have access to the website.

To this effect, some navigated the hurdle using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

The decision of the Federal Government has led to various reactions from the envoys of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union in Nigeria among others insisting that the suspension of Twitter, is a violation of the fundamental human right of freedom of expression.

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