A member of the House of Representatives, Mark Gbillah (PDP, Benue), has said he will try to halt Tuesday’s legislative proceeding if an attempt is made by the leadership of the House to stop members from discussing the ‘illegal Twitter ban.’
Mr Gbillah, who represents Gwer East/Gwer West federal constituency of Benue State who disclosed this Saturday, urged his colleagues in the National Assembly to abandon party loyalty and address the breach of Sections 35 and 39 of the Nigerian Constitution on the rights of Nigerians to free speech and freedom of expression.
The lawmaker said President Muhamadu Buhari would have faced an impeachment process if he had been the president of a more democratic country.
He said the ban is a confirmation that Mr Buhari’s administration has not been ruling according to the principles of the Constitution.
There have been instances where the House leadership has used technicalities to prevent the opposition from raising critical issues that concern the actions of the executive arm of government.
Mr Gbillah was once prevented by the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), from submitting a petition from the Mutual Union of Tivs in America (MUTA) on the killings in Benue. Mr Wase, who presided over the House sitting on that day, ruled that Nigerians living abroad had no right to submit a petition to the House even through a lawmaker.
It took protest by Nigerians in the Diaspora for the leadership of the House to allow Mr Gbillah to submit the petition.
Also, during the heat of the controversy surrounding the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Pantami, a point of privilege was raised by minority leader Ndudi Elumelu.
The matter was not allowed to be debated by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamia, who argued that Mr Elumelu raised the issue under the wrong protocol.
Also, during the ENDSARS protest, there was an altercation between the deputy speaker and Shina Peller (APC, Oyo), after the former, who presided over the plenary session, refused to allow Mr Peller the opportunity to raise a point of order.
The ban of the microblogging site, Twitter, by the federal government.
This came two days after Twitter took down a controversial tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari which the microblogging site said violated its rules. Many Nigerians had described the tweet as a veiled threat of violence against the Igbo ethnic group while others disagreed saying it was targeted at perpetrators of violence.
Despite the ban, Nigerians have continued to access Twitter, through Virtual Private Network (VPN). However, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, announced that his ministry will prosecute Nigerians bypassing the restriction.