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Senate keeps mum as reps bicker over Twitter suspension

Senate keeps mum as reps bicker over Twitter suspension
June 08
17:55 2021

The senate on Tuesday considered key national issues except, perhaps, the most important: Twitter’s indefinite suspension in Nigeria.

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On 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”.

But some have argued that the suspension may be connected to Twitter’s decision to delete President Muhammadu Buhari tweet recently.

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Although Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), ordered the prosecution of anyone violating the ban, many Nigerians have continued to access the microblogging site using the virtual personal network (VPN).

Some citizens, especially on social media, have also been criticising the leadership of the national assembly for not intervening in the matter.

As the ban entered day four on Tuesday, expectations were high as the two chambers of the national assembly were set to hold their first plenary sessions since the government’s announcement.

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But when the senate reconvened, Senate President Ahmad Lawan quickly called for a closed session.

After their meeting, no senator moved a motion — even as a “matter of urgent public importance” — on Twitter’s suspension in Nigeria.

The senators only went about their usual legislative business, debating other motions and bills that have been scheduled for the day.

Meanwhile, a different scene played out at the house of representatives, where lawmakers summoned the information minister over the issue.

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They, however, disagreed over a prayer urging the federal government to lift the ban.

The minority caucus of the house – mostly made of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers – staged a protest after the prayer was rejected.

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