The joint minority caucus of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday asked Nigerians to ignore the ban placed on Twitter by the Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)-led presidency and continue to use the social media platform.
The caucus, in a statement by the Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, noted that many Nigerians are losing their sources of livelihood due to the ban.
The duo, while condemning the ban as “as draconian and unacceptable,” also dismissed threats by the government to arrest and prosecute Nigerians for using Twitter. They Nigerians to “go ahead and use their Twitter (handles) as they would not be contravening any law in Nigeria or any international statute.”
The lawmakers said they recognise the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, which Nigeria is a signatory to, as well as provisions of Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), stating that “by these provisions, no one will be violating any law for using Twitter in Nigeria.
The statement, titled ‘NASS Joint Minority Caucus Asks Nigerians to Continue Using Twitter”, 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.”