In its efforts to address the raging insecurity in Nigeria, the House of Representatives has listed various legislative interventions it would embark upon including summoning social media organisations to discuss how they can regulate themselves in the country.
These were contained in the report of the House’ Special Ad Hoc Committee on National Security headed by the Speaker of the Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The committee in May organised a four-day Special Summit on National Security. The reprot of the committe was considered and adopted at the plenary on Tuesday.
According to Gbajabiamila, the recommendations by the House on the security crises would be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari
The committee also listed other areas it said the National Assembly would take steps.
In its resolution, the House resolved to “set a declassification period and process – backed by law – for security votes,” stating that, “Security votes at all levels should be declassified at the end of four years for legislative review and four years, thereafter, for public access, towards improving the utilisation of the votes for enhancing security.”
Huge sums of money are spent by the president and governors as security vote, which are not made public, a situation that has attracted public criticisms.
The House also resolved to establish development commissions “across all six of Nigeria’s geopolitical zones, e.g. Niger Delta Development Commission, South West Development Commission, North East Development Commission, South East Development Commission, etc.”
Other legislative interventions are to, “Strengthen the Federal Character law to ensure better and more vigorous enforcement and implementation. Every Nigerian deserves to be treated with dignity and rights irrespective of where they may physically be located in the country.
“Establish interventionist agency, or add to the role of an existing agency, to identify and provide little investment and sustenance opportunities to ex-convicts, jobless youths, discharged but indigents military and paramilitary personnel, among others; it is being alleged that most of the violent crimes are committed by these classes of citizens. Maintain a central database of convicted persons, persons who have served out their terms, and persons in prisons and awaiting trial;
“Establish a national transitional justice framework. The absence of a unifying transitional justice framework remains a challenge in addressing Nigeria’s intractable conflicts. Existing transitional justice frameworks, e.g., designed to address the Niger Delta or the Boko Haram insurgency, will require review, towards applying them to the many victims of the other security challenges.
“Invite representatives from Google, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter to a special dialogue to discuss a voluntary platform regulations framework that centres the need for platforms to have content regulation policies themselves that are well designed and consistently enforced in Nigeria.
“Increasingly complex phenomena such as the use of automation to manipulate algorithms that control the digital information, we see, mean that it is ever more difficult to navigate online spaces. Social media analysis has revealed that the Nigerian online space shows evidence of up to 19.5 per cent bot usage; that is to say, programs or scripts were written to artificially increase the visibility of certain kinds of content. In recognition of this, social media companies themselves have an ever more important role to play in moderating content on their platforms.”
The lawmakers equally resolved to address the crisis of overlapping mandates amongst the various security related agencies.
Recall that the Federal Government has since suspended Twitter’s operation in Nigeria.