Friday Olokor and Leke Baiyewu
16 June 2021
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The Federal Government on Tuesday confirmed that Twitter had formally written to seek dialogue with Nigerian government on issues leading to the indefinite suspension of its operations in the country.
Mohammed said this when he featured on ‘Politics Nationwide,’ a call-in programme of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.
“I can confirm that Twitter has written the Federal Government that they are ready to talk.
As we have always maintained, the door is not locked and we are open minded but Twitter must work toward it,” he said.
Whije reiterating the government’s position that it would not any platform to be used to destabilise the country, the minister said, among other conditions for Twitter to resume operation in Nigeria, there must be an agreement as to what contents it could allow.
He said Twitter and other platforms must also register as a Nigerian company, obtain licence from the National Broadcasting Commission, as well as pay taxes.
According to him, the regulation of social media platforms is becoming a global practice.
The minister said, ““Singapore, Algeria, Pakistan, Turkey regulate the social media, Australia has done so. Even the EU that does not have particular laws on social media has made recommendations in a white paper.”
Mohammed said that regulation of the social media was not synonymous with stifling press freedom.
“The suspension of Twitter is to ensure that no particular platform is used to cause war in Nigeria. Secondly, it is to ensure that whoever is making money in Nigeria must be made to pay tax.”
House tells PDP Reps to present opinions to panel
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has replied to some members of the Peoples Democratic Party caucus who have alleged that their motions, especially on the recent ban placed by the Federal Government on Twitter, are being suppressed.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, while reacting to the allegation in a message to our correspondent on Tuesday, denied the blockade of opposition members, asking the aggrieved lawmakers to forward their ideas and opinions to the committee probing the ban.
Kalu said, “I am not sure this is true as it is not the Speaker that handles the bills and motions listing of the House. It is handled by the House Committee on Rules and Business under the chairmanship of Hon (Abubakar) Fulata. I am equally a member of that committee.
“Meanwhile, I will contact the clerk of the committee to verify if this allegation of unlisted 40 motions and bills is true. I will be amazed if it is, because the 9th Assembly is political-party-colour blind in the management of bills and motions tailored to provide solutions to the hydra-headed needs of Nigeria and Nigerians. I seriously doubt this.”