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House of Reps

The House of Representatives has yet to take a decision on the ban placed on Twitter by the Federal Government as the 10-day deadline given to members lapsed on Friday.

Recall that the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the chamber’s intervention should be concluded within 10 days.

There were strong indications on Saturday that the House committees mandated to carry out an investigation into the matter had yet to meet and decide on inviting Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who is at the centre of the controversy.

Leadership of the House had on June 8, 2021, mandated the Committees on Communications; Justice; Information and Culture; and National Security and Intelligence to, within 10 days, investigate the factors responsible for the ban and the legality of the action.

The National Assembly had gone on a two-week mid-term break the same week the House passed the resolution. Plenary is to resume on June 28, 2021.

When the vice-chairman of one of the committees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity on Saturday, was asked if the joint committee had invited Mohammed, he said, “I am not aware of any invitation.”

The Chairman of the House Committee on Communications, Akeem Adeyemi, could also not confirm if or when minister would appear before the lawmakers.

When our correspondent placed a call to him, he asked that a text message be sent, which was done.

In his response at 3.34pm on Friday, Adeyemi said, “(I) will get across to you soon.”

The lawmaker, however, did not pick a follow-up call made to him on Sunday when this report was filed.

Chairman of the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Olusegun Odebunmi, neither picked calls made to him between Friday and Saturday, nor replied to the message sent to him as of press time on Sunday.

Incidentally, Mohammed was at the two-day public hearing organised by Odebunmi’s committee between Wednesday and Thursday on bills relating to the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Nigerian Press Council Act and three other legislations.

On Thursday, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, in the mid-term report titled, ‘The Journey of the 9th House of Representatives at Two: An Up-To-Date Report on the Activities of the House’, was silent on the Twitter deadline.

On the ban, the report only read, “Recently, the Federal Government’s controversial decision to ban micro-blogging site, Twitter, for alleged plans to disintegrate the country caused an uproar that moved the House to immediately mandate a joint committee to investigate the circumstances of the government’s decision.”

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