Nigerians can now be arrested and prosecuted for tweeting following ban on Twitter, government orders

Following the ban on Twitter by the Nigerian government on Friday June 4, the government has ordered federal prosecutors to arrest and prosecute anybody discovered nonetheless utilizing the Twitter app. The order goes into impact instantly.

Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, issued the directive Saturday in a press release signed on his behalf by his spokesman, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.

“Malami 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 De-activation of operations of Twitter in Nigeria,” it learn.

The nationwide broadcasting regulator, NBC, had additionally been advised to start “licensing all internet streaming services and social media operations in Nigeria”, a government assertion mentioned.

Nigeria announced the “indefinite suspension” of Twitter’s operations within the nation on Friday, two days after the social media platform deleted a tweet by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari that was broadly perceived as offensive.

Buhari had tweeted, “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”

Nigeria mentioned on Saturday that the elimination of the President’s was “disappointing”, however was not the one purpose for the “temporary” suspension.

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“There has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences,” the government mentioned.

Nigerian government additionally mentioned that Twitter was getting used to undermine “Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

The platform was permitting “the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages” that “could tear some countries apart”, a spokesperson mentioned.

Reacting to the event, Twitter mentioned the ban which was introduced Friday by Nigeria’s Minister of Information Lai Mohammed was “deeply concerning”.

Twitter declared entry to its platform a ‘human proper’, prompting conservatives to accuse the tech big of hypocrisy after it banned former U.S President Donald Trump and others for violating its phrases of service.

“We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society,” Twitter mentioned in a press release on Saturday.

“We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world. #KeepitOn.”

The Twitter ban in Nigeria has up to now acquired widespread condemnation from human rights teams and worldwide powers, who say it’ll restrict free speech in Nigeria.

In a press release posted on its website, The U.S Mission Nigeria mentioned;

“Nigeria’s constitution provides for freedom of expression.  The Government’s recent #Twitterban undermines Nigerians’ ability to exercise this fundamental freedom and sends a poor message to its citizens, investors and businesses. Banning social media and curbing every citizen’s ability to seek, receive, and impart information undermines fundamental freedoms.  As President Biden has stated, our need for individual expression, open public conversation, and accountability has never been greater.  The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less communication, alongside concerted efforts toward unity, peace, and prosperity.”

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A outstanding Nigerian determine Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, said President Buhari ought to have sorted out no matter points he has with Twitter personally and not infringe on folks’s proper to free expression as collateral injury.

The Nobel Laureate additionally mentioned the motion didn’t come as a shock to him, including that the transfer is “unbecoming of a democratically elected president”.

He said;

“The evocation of the civil warfare, the place thousands and thousands of civilians perished, is an unworthy emotive ploy that has run its course, including, “Finally, the chickens have come dwelling to roost.

“It does not take the formal declaration of hostilities, with or without lethal bombardments, for a nation to find itself shell-shocked. The populace of this nation is already in that shell-shocked condition. So, what is there left to shock?”

Also reacting, Amnesty International, Nigeria, with the Twitter deal with @AmnestyNigeria, wrote: “Amnesty International condemns the Nigerian government’s suspension of Twitter @Twitter in #NigeriaFlag of Nigeria, a social media broadly utilized by Nigerians to train their human rights, together with their rights to freedom of expression and entry to info.

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“We name on the #Nigerian authorities to right away reverse the illegal suspension and different plans to gag the media, repress the civic house and undermine Nigerians’ human rights.

“This action is clearly inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s international obligations, including under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Since the ban, some Nigerians are reportedly making an attempt to avoid it by means of the usage of a digital personal community (VPN) which permits customers to entry public networks with encrypted web connections.

Gwandu, the Attorney General’s spokesman, advised CNN on Saturday that anybody nonetheless tweeting will be introduced earlier than the regulation.

“Any violator, whether individuals or organizations, will be prosecuted,” mentioned Gwandu. “It is the duty of prosecutors to find out modalities of getting out those who violate,” he added.

Gwandu remarked that Nigeria’s legal guidelines don’t assure absolute freedom whereas responding as to if it’s lawful to prosecute law-abiding residents who’re entitled to freedom of thought, expression, and privateness.

“How do you call them law-abiding when they violate laws… when they want to create havoc, create issues of sedition, felony and are inciting hatred among Nigerians?” he requested.

“Every freedom has certain responsibilities — corresponding responsibility to the freedoms. No freedom is absolute. Those who are apprehended will get to know what sort of prosecution awaits them,” Gwandu advised CNN.


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