Member of the Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives have lamented that their motions on the ban placed on Twitter in Nigeria by the Federal Government are not being listed for consideration by the chamber.

Several members of the caucus alleged that the leadership of the House was preventing a debate on the matter.

According to them, about 40 motions sponsored by members of the opposition have been blocked in the last one year.

The lawmakers now plan to publish their motions on Twitter ban in the media.

An official in the Office of the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who declined to be named, however, dismissed the allegation, noting that PDP members were leading the pack of lawmakers with most bills in the House.

A member of the caucus alleged that those presented by Messrs Teejay Yusuf, Ben Igbakpa, Mark Gbillah and a fourth one by the caucus were ignored.

The lawmaker from the South-South geopolitical zone, in a chat with our correspondent on Thursday, accused the leadership of the House of silencing the opposition.

A ranking member of the caucus from the North-Central, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday night, alleged that the opposition lawmakers had submitted four motions on Twitter ban to the House but none of them had been placed on the Order Paper till the parliament went on break on Thursday.

The National Assembly embarked on a two-week mid-term break.

Apart from motions of urgent public importance which must meet certain emergency standards, regular motions are collated and scheduled for consideration by the Committee on Rules and Business, subject to the approval of the leadership.

The ranking lawmaker said after the protests by the caucus earlier on Tuesday, the PDP lawmakers submitted the fourth motion to demand an immediate lifting of the ban but was not approved for consideration on Wednesday.

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He said, “We have brought the motion but we did not see it today. As of yesterday (Tuesday), we had submitted four motions on this particular matter: between last week and yesterday. We want to wait for a few days and come out for Nigerians to know that they are trying to shut us out.”

Speaking further on Monday, the lawmaker said, “We are working on it. If nothing is done after our extended time, we will publish motions and bills. We have more than 40 motions that were sent over a year (ago).”

The Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata, could not be reached since Wednesday night to confirm or deny the allegation.

Several calls were made to his line which indicated that it was busy for a long time.

Fulata had yet to reply a text message seeking his reaction as of press time on Monday.

The House had on Tuesday last week said it would, within 10 days, investigate the factors responsible for the Federal Government’s decision to ban Twitter in Nigeria and laws upon which the action was based.

However, a source close to the Gbajabiamila said, “When they resumed plenary, the Speaker read out the resolutions of the House (leadership) on the matter. So, when did they bring those four motions? Within the three days? The day (Tuesday) that the Speaker read out the resolutions, when (leader of the PDP caucus) Kingsley Chinda rose to speak; he did not mention any motion? Or are they saying it was after that day – within the next two days – that was when they raised four motions?

“If that is true, the Speaker only sat on Wednesday; he did not preside on Thursday. He travelled with the President (Major General Muhammadu Buhari, retd.).”

On the allegation that bills are also being blocked, the official recalled that statistics showed that PDP members sponsored most bills in the last two years and they are still sponsoring more.

When contacted on Monday, the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, referred our correspondent to the spokesman for the House.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, could not be reached on the telephone.


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