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Reps sustains Twitter ban, urges continued dialogue

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Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. Photo/FACEBOOK/SPEAKERGBAJA

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The House of Representatives has endorsed the controversial ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria.

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The resolution followed the rejection of a motion to review the suspension moved by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase.

Toby had attempted to elicit the support of the chamber to alter the report of the Odebunmi Dokun-led Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Telecommunications and National Security, which neither faulted the authorities nor demanded the lifting of the embargoed country.

When the question on the need to lift the suspension was thrown open, the voices of those in support were overwhelming.

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Nevertheless, the lawmakers enjoined the authorities to sustain the ongoing dialogue with Twitter management for an amicable resolution.

The panel, which probed into the propriety of the government decision, had among others, acknowledged that the ban not only infringed on the freedom of information as enshrined in the constitution but has a social and economic impact on the citizenry.

However, there was a mild drama, as both Wase and Toby demanded the withdrawal of the report on the basis that it was shallow and lacking in far-reaching recommendations on the way forward.

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Wase, who accused the committee of sidelining the National Security Adviser (NSA) during its fact-finding mission, wondered why the report fell short of either apportioning blame or lauding the embargo.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, operating in a capacity of a mere floor member, implored the House to overlook the panel’s inadequacies and proffer a solution to the quagmire.

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, meanwhile, hosted the High Commissioner of Great Britain, Ms. Catriona Laing, yesterday.

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They discussed bilateral issues relating to asset recovery, anti-corruption crusade, amendment of the Electoral Act, the Audit Bill, Petroleum Industry Bill, Twitter ban and counter-terrorism.

In her remarks, Ms. Catriona Laing thanked the minister for the “clarification” on the issues maintaining that the steps taken in the fight against corruption and electoral reforms are “really encouraging”.

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