The joint minority caucus of the Senate and the House of Representatives has called on Nigerians to disregard the Federal Government’s suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria.
According to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) minority caucus, the ban does not hold water, therefore Nigerians should continue the use of the microblogging site.
Recall that the Federal Government had announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, after the microblogging site deleted President Buhari’s tweet for allegedly violating its rules.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the suspension was hinged on “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
Reacting to the ban, the National Assembly caucus, described the action of the Federal Government as “wicked and callous”. According to the lawmakers, the All Progressive Congress-led federal government failed to consider the negative impact of its decision on Nigerians before enforcing the ban.
The Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndidi Elumelu, stated this in a joint statement issued on Wednesday.
According to the statement, the PDP lawmakers condemned the government’s action, describing the ban as “draconian and unacceptable.”
The opposition lawmakers also dismissed threats by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to arrest and prosecute Nigerians for using twitter.
The lawmakers called on Nigerians to “go ahead and use their Twitter (handles) as they would not be contravening any law in Nigeria or any international statute.”
According to the lawmakers, Nigerians are backed by the law to use the microblogging site under the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, of which Nigeria is a signatory to, as well as provisions of Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The lawmakers also sympathised with the organised private sector, manufacturing and service providing companies; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; online businesses owners and other hard working entrepreneurs across the country, “whose genuine business and means of livelihood have been crippled by the unwarranted ban on Twitter by the APC Federal Government.”
The statement partly read, “As lawmakers, the joint caucus is pained by the anguish Nigerians, especially the youths, who find the use of twitter as a means of livelihood and genuine social interaction, are passing through just because the APC-led Federal Government feels slighted that an individual’s post, was deleted by Twitter for ethical violation.
“The joint caucus, therefore, calls on Nigerians to use various opportunities offered by technology and continue making use of twitter since such does not violate any law in our country.
“It is agonising that Nigeria and Nigerians have been losing billions of naira on a daily basis since the ban on Twitter. This is completely unacceptable as it is worsening the already biting economic hardship and frightening unemployment level in the country.
“Moreover, the ban on Twitter in Nigeria appears to be in favour of criminal and terrorist elements, whose activities fester in an environment of suppressed information flow.”