There was a rowdy session at the House of Representatives on Tuesday as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) staged a walkout from the green chambers.
The leader of the PDP caucus, Hon. Kingsley Chinda and some other PDP lawmakers walked out of plenary over the refusal of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, to grant their prayers on the Federal Government’s Twitter ban.
The house debated on the indefinite suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria. Following several debates led by the lawmakers, Gbajabiamila referred the issue to relevant committees of the House, in order to investigate the matter and file a report within 10 days.
Meanwhile, Chinda, who represents Obio-Akpor Federal Constituency of Rivers State, in his debate prayed to the house to ask the Federal Government to lift the suspension of Twitter pending the time the committee will submit the report.
According to him, if the ban remains till the 10 days given to the committee, the rights of Nigerians would be kept in abeyance. He noted the microblogging site is a source of livelihood for many youths in the country.
Chinda said “Mr. Speaker, I stand on section 39 of the Nigerian constitution, section 19 of the Universal declaration on Human and Peoples right and article 9 of the African charter of Human and Peoples right.
“As a representative of the people, I have a source of communication with my constituents; I have a source of interaction with my leaders. But in moving this, I must, with all sense of responsibility commend the steps you took this morning concerning this issue of ban of twitter. It was very proactive, very timely.
“But my concern is that as a Nigerian and several other Nigerians out there, the implication is that for the ten days you have given that committee to work, this breach will continue. We don’t even know for how long our interaction with the Executive arm will last.
“While I agree with the submission of the leadership of this House completely, I will only want to add that for the breach of our fundamental human right, particularly the right to fair hearing, right to freedom of speech and expression, we should urge the Executive arm in the interim to reverse the ban pending our interaction with the Executive.”
Gbajabiamila, in his ruling however, stated that the matter had been concluded and therefore cannot be revised, backing his claim with the Standing Orders of the House.
The Speaker, therefore, ruled Chinda out of order, a decision which drew criticism from PDP lawmakers.
The decision later generated into heated argument as member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and PDP talked at each other.
Following the heated argument, Chinda led other PDP members out of the chamber.
Addressing the press outside of the chambers, Chinda stated that the action was in defence of the human rights of Nigerians.