•It’s unconstitutional –PDP
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN yesterday directed for immediate prosecution of offenders of the Federal Government’s ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement issued by Malami’s media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu, in Abuja.
According to the statement, Malami has directed the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF) at the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, to swing into action and commence in earnest, the process of prosecution of violators of the Federal Government deactivation of operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
Malami directed the DPPF to liase with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, National Communication Communication (NCC) and other relevant government agencies to ensure the speedy prosecution of offenders without any further delay.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the directive by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to arrest and prosecute any Nigerian using Twitter, was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.
The party, in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, said the directive by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was not only ludicrous but showed the desperation by the presidency to muzzle, victimise and clamp down on innocent Nigerians and foist a totalitarian system on the country.
The PDP stated that there was nothing in the extant laws that criminalises the use of Twitter by Nigerians or empowers the Federal Government to arrest and prosecute any Nigerians for using Twitter.
“For Malami’s information, Section 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that “a person shall not be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and the penalty therefore is prescribed in a written law, and in this subsection, a written law refers to an Act of the National Assembly or a law of a state, any subsidiary legislation or instrument under the provisions of the law’.
“Moreover, they should also realise that the suspension of Twitter by the APC Federal Government, in addition to its unconstitutionality, only suspended Twitter operations and not the use of Twitter by Nigerians.
“The directive by the Attorney General to arrest and prosecute any Nigerians found using Twitter, does not have the backing of any law enacted by the National Assembly or any state legislative house, and as such, Malami’s declaration is completely of no legal consequence,” the party noted.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has charged Nigeria youths to take advantage of the ban of Twitter by the Federal Government to develop social media applications suitable for the country.
The party cited India and China as countries that have developed social media applications suitable for their countries. According to the APC, this is the appropriate time for the Nigeria Youths to develop social media app.