The Federal Government on Tuesday insisted that all those violating the suspension order it placed on the operations of the micro-blogging and social media platform, Twitter would be prosecuted.
The Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Umar Gwandu, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents.
But the Christian Association of Nigeria warned government against arresting and prosecuting Twitter ban violators, particularly clerics whose tweets were meant for their church members worldwide.
Recall that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had in statement on Friday by his spokesman, Segun Adeyemi, announced the suspension.
Amidst the public outcry and criticism that followed the government’s decision, the AGF, Abubakar Malami, on Saturday directed the Director of Public Prosecution in his office to begin the process of prosecuting violators of the government’s suspension order.
Many senior lawyers have faulted Malami’s position, saying Nigerians cannot be prosecuted for an offence that is not known to the nation’s law.
Despite the prosecution order, many prominent Nigerians have continued using Twitter openly, daring the police to arrest them and the Office of the AGF to prosecute them.
Among those who have been using the platform despite the suspension order are the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; the General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi; the Senior Pastor of the Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, Pastor Sam Adeyemi; the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries International, Apostle Johnson Suleiman; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose; former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili; and the representative of Kogi West Senatorial District in the Eighth National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye, among others.
Ortom defies FG order, tweets
On Tuesday, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, joined prominent Nigerians who tweeted despite the Federal Government’s ban.
The governor tweeted, “The ban on Twitter is not only illegal, but it is also an ill-advised move to divert the attention of Nigerians from the FG’s failure to tackle insecurity in parts of the country.
“It amounts to suppression of fundamental human rights and gagging of social media.”
Recall that his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, tweeted on Sunday despite the ban.
On Tuesday, one of our correspondents sought to know from the AGF office what the government intended to do to those who had been violating its suspension order.