The minority caucus in the House of Representatives has opposed the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria, warning that it “is capable of leading to further restiveness among Nigerians” and escalating the insecurity situation of the country.
This was made know in a statement signed by Ndudi Elumelu, Minority Leader of the House, on Saturday.
The Federal Government announced the suspension of Twitter on Friday, two days after the microblogging site deleted a tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari after it was deemed to have “violated the Twitter rules”.
According to a statement by Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture on Friday, the ban was placed on Twitter due to the “persistent use” of the platform in purportedly encouraging activities that “undermines Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
Reacting, the House minority caucus argued that the abrupt suspension is a clear violation of freedom of speech and other democratic rights and tenets as guaranteed in the 1999 constitution.
The caucus described the suspension as “provocative, obnoxious and unjustifiable”, adding that it “smacks of intolerance, insensitivity and aversion to the views, opinions and aspirations of Nigerian citizens, especially the youth, on matters of state”.
The statement read: “Our caucus rejects this thoughtless decision of the Federal Government, which amounts to a clampdown and a direct infringement on the rights of Nigerians to free speech as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended). It further shows the All Progressives Congress-led administration as one that is unwilling to listen to Nigerians but ready to use any means to suppress and subjugate its citizens.
“The minority caucus is disturbed that the suspension of Twitter in the country came after the social media platform deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweets. Such response by the Federal Government has raised further concerns over the APC-led administration’s disturbing rating on issues of political intolerance, abuse of rights and violation of rules in our country.
“The minority caucus cautions that the development is capable of leading to further restiveness among Nigerians and worsen the situation in the country.”
The House minority caucus also noted that the suspension of Twitter, coming at a time the National Assembly is undertaking a review of the 1999 constitution may hinder the process.
“Moreover, this action of the Federal Government, coming at a time the National Assembly is conducting its public hearing towards the amendment of the constitution, may constitute a major setback capable of diminishing public confidence in the exercise as well as other processes genuine efforts by the legislature to strengthen democratic tenets in the country,” the statement read.