Senate President: Nigeria Needs Twitter Just as Twitter Needs Nigeria

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan yesterday said he was optimistic that the row between the federal government and Twitter over the suspension imposed on the micro-blogging site would be resolved soon, stating that Nigeria needs Twitter as much as the platform needs the nation.
On the same day, Twitter announced that it had contacted the federal government for dialogue and resolution of the crisis.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, titled, “Behold the Silver Lining in Nigeria,” to mark the second anniversary of the Ninth Senate, Lawan explained that the federal government was already talking with Twitter to resolve their differences.

The Senate President, in his reaction, the first since the federal government banned Twitter’s operations a week ago, said: “The honourable minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, informed Nigerians that they are talking with Twitter to resolve this matter. Our belief is that Nigeria needs Twitter just as much as Twitter needs Nigeria.

“We believe that the matter between Twitter and the federal government of Nigeria will be resolved. But beyond that, I’m an optimist; I believe all of us have learnt our lessons.”

Lawan also took an overview of the nation’s current security and economic situations and concluded that “this is the worst shape Nigeria can find itself.”
He described Nigeria’s rising debt profile as “necessary burden.”
He said: “I believe this is the worse level we can get, we can’t get worse than this; it can only get better.”

He noted that in the last one week, leaders like Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdusalam Abubukar, religious leaders and others had been coming together to proffer solution to the problems bedeviling the nation.
“I believe we are going to have a reversal of this situation. We should not be despair, we should be optimistic. Other countries were like this before and they came out, we will come out,” Lawan said.

Explaining why the National Assembly shouldn’t be described as rubber stamp, Lawan said: “This is a regular music. There is always a price to pay for everything. By the grace of God, I am 22 years in the National Assembly. As a student of the legislature and parliament generally, I understood there is need for partnership and cordial relationship between us as legislature first.

“When I was elected, senators across divide voted for me. They wanted a bi-partisan chamber. We were able to bring ourselves together in both formal and informal way. The next one is our relationship with the House. Apart from confirmation, every legislation requires concurrence. We have been on the same page.

“The next level is the level of the National Assembly as an institution working with the executive arm of government.”
He disagreed with the insinuation that the current constitutional amendment programme of the National Assembly was another round of jamboree, saying, “It’s not a jamboree. There were amendments in the past. The Not-too-young to run was part of the amendment.

“The National Assembly passed the state assemblies’ autonomy but what happened? The state assemblies turned it down. We need the local government to function. The bulk of the people are in the local government. The National Assembly is honest. What we are doing is honest, if we make mistake, call us to order. 108 senators and 359 House of Representatives members will vote to achieve consensus.”

According to him, it was high time Nigerians stop misinterpreting the resolve of the 9th National Assembly to work cordially with the executive arm of government.
He said: “This Senate and the National Assembly have shown exceptional patriotism in seeking solutions to the challenges facing our dear country, and in the interventions we have made to some emergencies that confronted us in the last two years.

“We have been resolute in our approaches, committed in our deliberations, and forward looking in the regulatory frameworks that we proffered, cognisance of our goal as legislators eager to leave a lasting legacy.”

Twitter: We Are Ready to Meet with Nigerian Government for Open Discussion

Twiter in a statement posted yesterday said: “Today marks one week since Twitter was blocked in Nigeria. We have informed the Nigerian government that we are ready to meet for an open discussion to address mutual concerns and see the service restored. We remain advocates for the free and #OpenInternet everywhere. #KeepitOn.”

The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed announced the suspension a week ago after the government alleged that the micro-blogging site was being used to undermine “Nigeria’s corporate existence through the spreading of fake news that have “violent consequences.”
This was after Twitter took down a controversial tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari.


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