Nigeria’s Senate President finally speaks on Twitter ban
Nigeria’s Senate President Ahmad Lawan Friday was still evasive about taking a stand on the ban by the Federal Government on Twitter, an action that has generated widespread reactions.
Lawan, however, expressed optimism that the planned dialogue between the federal government and Twitter will end the ban on the microblogging site in Nigeria.
The Senate may have disappointed many Nigerians on the expectations that it will at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday touch the issue of the ban on Twitter by the Federal Government as no motion or any matter of urgent national importance was moved.
There were high expectations as the two chambers of the National Assembly held their first plenary sessions since the government the suspension was announced.
The Senate considered many national issues except, Twitter’s indefinite suspension.
Last Friday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, announced that the federal government suspended the operations of Twitter indefinitely.
The minister had said the government was forced to act because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
On Wednesday, the chairman Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Sen. Ajibola Basiru, also had declined to speak on the ban on the matter when he addressed Senate correspondents as he claimed he had no mandate of the Senate to speak on the issue.
“If I express any opinion, it will be my personal opinion and there is the tendency that my opinion may be judged to be that of the Senate,” Basiru said.
“So, I don’t have the mandate of the Nigerian Senate to talk on the issue of Twitter.
“I will exercise restraint and be on the cautionary note so that I will not be quoted as speaking for the Senate on the Twitter ban.”
But on Friday, Lawan was non-committal about the matter.
“Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had, on Wednesday, said that Twitter had reached out to the federal government for dialogue over the decision of the Nigerian government to ban the operation of Twitter within Nigerian space,” he said at a media briefing on the 2nd anniversary of the Ninth Senate on Friday in Abuja
“Our belief is that Nigerians need Twitter and Twitter needs Nigeria. We believe that this engagement will resolve issue. I’m an optimist. I believe that all of us would have learned our lesson.”
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