The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said social media is a powerful weapon for good and evil in society and must be regulated. 

Gbajabiamila stated this during his appearance on a Channels TV programme titled: “Mr Speaker Chats with Young Nigerians”. His comment follows the ban of the microblogging site, Twitter in the country by the Federal Government, earlier in June.

He noted that although the constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression, it must not be at the expense of national and individual security. The speaker noted that everything in life should be regulated.

Gbajabiamila noted that the National Assembly would have long enacted a law to regulate social media but the move had always been greeted by the opposition.

According to him: “Social media is the most potent weapon for good and for evil. While we welcome the good, we must prepare over the evil. You cannot use the idea of free speech to destroy me. 

“Most democracies in the world today are making efforts to regulate the social media and the National Assembly has been considering regulating the social media for long. But each time the issue comes up, Nigerians kick against it.

“It is something we need to do because we have a responsibility to protect every single citizen in this country and that is what we must do,”

Recall that a joint committee of the House of the representative is currently interfacing with the federal government decision to suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria. Gbajabiamila gave the assurance that the National Assembly would always blend all necessary issues before reaching a decision.

“We are elected by the people to represent them and ordinarily, we should be on their side. But this is not a beauty contest. You must listen to all sides. The government says Twitter poses threat to national security. What is the information available to them that we are not privy to?

“They have also said that it is not about the President’s tweet which was taken down but a mere coincidence. We are listening to the government because we have heard from the people.

“We agree that there is freedom of speech but the government is saying that freedom is not absolute. Even at that, freedom can be protected but not at the instance of the country.

“I am happy that twitter and the government are already talking. In the end, I hope that the issue will be resolved in the best way possible,” the speaker added.

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