• June 15, 2021

FG Lacks Constitutional Authority To Suspend Twitter – NBA


By John Imade (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has flayed the Federal Government’s suspension of social media platform, Twitter, saying it has no constitutional nor legal authority to back up its action.

This was contained in a communiqué issued by NBA President, Olumide Akpata, on Friday night, in which he described the government’s suspension of the platform as illegal, threatening to challenge it in court.

The @NigBarAssoc has noted with great concern the extraordinary decision of the Federal Govt to suspend the operations of @Twitter in Nigeria and, by necessary implication, the right of Nigerians to freely express their constitutionally guaranteed opinions through that medium.

— Olumide Akpata (@OlumideAkpata) June 4, 2021

The FGN also directed the @NgComCommission to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria, which is, at best, yet another disguised attempt to regulate social media, restrict freedom of speech and shrink civic space.

— Olumide Akpata (@OlumideAkpata) June 4, 2021

Whether one likes it or not, we are operating a constitutional democracy, the primary consequence of which is that everything must be done according to law; government must be conducted within the framework of recognised rules and principles which restrict discretionary power.

— Olumide Akpata (@OlumideAkpata) June 4, 2021

The @NigBarAssoc finds no constitutional or legal authority to support the peremptory action of the Federal Government to suspend the operations of Twitter in Nigeria. Beyond the dent on our constitutional democracy, at a time when the Nigerian economy is unarguably struggling…

— Olumide Akpata (@OlumideAkpata) June 4, 2021

… the impact of arbitrary decisions such as this on investor confidence is better imagined.

Consequently, if this decision is not immediately reversed, the @NigBarAssoc will have no choice but to challenge same in the interest of the public and for the sake of our democracy.

— Olumide Akpata (@OlumideAkpata) June 4, 2021

Twitter had deleted a post by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, and this prompted the government to announce a punitive ban. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension earlier on Friday, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.


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