Nigerians should defy the Federal Government’s Twitter ban and continue to use the social media network, according to the combined minority caucus of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The National Assembly caucus, which branded the ban draconian, bemoaned the fact that many Nigerians are losing their livelihoods as a result of it.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Senate Minority Leader, and Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader of the House, declared this in a statement issued on Wednesday headed “NASS Joint Minority Caucus Asks Nigerians to Continue Using Twitter.”
The combined caucus convened over the ban imposed by the APC government and “restates its criticism of the embargo as harsh and unacceptable,” according to the statement.
Nigerians should “go ahead and use their Twitter (handles) as they would not be contravening any law in Nigeria or any international legislation,” the opposition legislators said, dismissing government threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians for using Twitter.
The lawmakers stated that they recognize Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, to which Nigeria is a signatory, as well as Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), stating that “no one will be violating any law for using twitter in Nigeria” under these provisions.
“As lawmakers, the joint caucus is pained by the anguish Nigerians, particularly the youths, who find the use of twitter as a means of livelihood and genuine social interaction, are going through just because the APC-led Federal Government feels slighted that an individual’s post was deleted by Twitter for ethical violations,” the statement read in part.
“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.”
The caucus expressed solidarity with the organized private sector, manufacturing and service providers; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; online business owners and other hardworking entrepreneurs across the country, “whose genuine business and means of livelihood have been crippled by the APC Federal Government’s unjustified ban on Twitter.”
Students, research-based organizations, media houses, organized civil society, faith-based organizations, and community groups are among those whose information-based operations have been forcibly disrupted by the ban, according to the minority MPs.
“In the same vein, the joint caucus sympathises with regional, states, local government as well as members of the international community, whose genuine and constructive activities have been crippled by the prohibition of twitter in Nigeria
“It also identifies with traditional rulers, who have even found Twitter as a means of communicating with the constituents, especially in this era of insecurity in the country,” the statement added.
The Joint Caucus chastises the APC-led government for ignoring its responsibility to address the significant economic and security challenges confronting our country in favor of wasting energy victimizing Nigerians over a quarrel with Twitter over the deletion of an individual’s post.
Instead of resorting to inflicting misery on Nigerians, the Caucus advises the Federal Government to swallow its pride, confess its wrongdoing, and resolve whatever issue it has with Twitter.
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