…as Rep. Umanah reminded Lai Mohammed how he used Twitter as opposition party’s Spokesman
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Isah Sheba Ibrahim said that the ban of Twitter operations in Nigeria was a sign of emerging totalitarianism.
Ibrahim who represents Koton Karfe federal constituency of Kogi State spoke yesterday during the interface between the House and the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed on why the federal government suspended Twitter.
Ibrahim, a lawyer and member of the Joint Committees on Information, ICT and Justice bemoaned the suspension, saying the fact that it came on the heels of the deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet created many impressions on the minds of people.
He blamed the minister for not being proactive in pointing out the infractions in the law before the deletion of President Buhari’s tweet.
He said: “My colleague has spoken my mind halfway. So, I will take the last lap of it. You will agree with me, Hon Minister that timing is very critical in every decision you make. I am of the view that every other thing is insignificant when national issue, security is at stake. I agree.
“You have done a very beautiful rendition of the framework that seems to support the steps you have taken. But I just wonder if, in the consideration of that ban, you took into cognisance the coincidence of Mr. President’s tweet and Twitter’s action and the impressions it created on the minds of millions of Nigerians and indeed the entire world. I say this because there is what is called claim of right made in bad fate.
“You may have a legal platform upon which to anchor that action but the circumstances with all due respect were suspect and that’s why you have everybody alluding to the action taken against Trump. If you had been proactive, with all due respect, you wouldn’t have allowed all these fractions to go on unchecked until the president’s tweet was taken down. I think that was a disservice to us because it did put us in peril. We are at the mercy of people who handle social media irresponsibly. And all it took for you to wake up to that realization was for Twitter to bring down Mr. President’s tweet. I don’t think that was good enough.
“Moving forward, I want to beg of you. As a lawyer, I know that no right is in absolute terms but again, we must mind the timing of it so that proactive actions are taken to nip these in the bud. What you have done whether you like it or not, sir looks like some symptoms of emerging totalitarianism, and that why everybody is shouting blue murder.
“I wish we can be proactive so that we take less bashing because Nigeria cannot operate in isolation of the global community”.
Similarly, another member of the Committee, Hon. Anikan Umanah from Akwa Ibom reminded the Minister of his days as the spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress APC during its time as the main opposition party in the country.
He said that Lia Mohammed made Twitter a choice platform but has turned against the same platform now.
Meanwhile, the Committee headed by Hon. Olusegun Odebunmi said it will make the report of the meeting available before the House for consideration.