By Tony Akowe, Abuja
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has argued that social media must be regulated to protect national interests.
He also said the Lower Chamber was yet to take any position on the suspension of micro blogging platform Twitter by the Federal Government.
The Speaker said social media must be regulated because “everything in life has to be regulated.”
The Speaker, who spoke on Channels TV programme A chat with Young Nigerians on Sunday monitored by The Nation, said lawmakers need to hear from all sides in the matter before arriving at a position.
While throwing his weight behind regulation of social media, the Speaker said: “The 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”.
He assured whatever position the National Assembly take would be in the overall interest of the Nigerian people.
He said even though the Federal Government has accused twitter of raising funds for #ENDSARS protest in 2020 and posing major threat to national security, the House is asking basic questions, which include likely information available to the government which Nigerians are not privy to.
He said: “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. Government says Twitter poses threat to national security. What are 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 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, the freedom can be protected but not at instance of the country.
“I am happy that twitter and government are already talking. At the end, I hope that the issue will be resolved in the best way possible”.