The joint minority caucus of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday in statement called on Nigerians to ignore the ban placed by the Federal Government on Twitter and continue to use the microblogging platform.
The National Assembly caucus described the ban as draconian, decried that many Nigerians are losing their sources of livelihood to the action.
The Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; and Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, stated this in a statement issued on Wednesday, titled ‘NASS Joint Minority Caucus Asks Nigerians to Continue Using Twitter.’
The statement said that the joint caucus met over the ban by the All Progressives Congress government and “restates its condemnation of the embargo as draconian and unacceptable.”
The opposition lawmakers also dismissed threats by the government to arrest and prosecute Nigerians for using twitter, calling on Nigerians to “go ahead and use their Twitter (handles) as they would not be contravening any law in Nigeria or any international statute.”
The lawmakers cited the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, which Nigeria is a signatory to, as well as provisions of Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), stating that “by these provisions, no one will be violating any law for using twitter in Nigeria.
“As lawmakers, the joint caucus is pained by the anguish Nigerians, especially the youths, who find the use of twitter as a means of livelihood and genuine social interaction, are passing through just because the APC-led Federal Government feels slighted that an individual’s post, was deleted by Twitter for ethical violation,” the statement read.
“The joint caucus, therefore, calls on Nigerians to use various opportunities offered by technology and continue making use of twitter since such does not violate any law in our country.
“It is agonising that Nigeria and Nigerians have been losing billions of naira on a daily basis since the ban on Twitter. This is completely unacceptable as it is worsening the already biting economic hardship and frightening unemployment level in the country.
“Moreover, the ban on Twitter in Nigeria appears to be in favour of criminal and terrorist elements, whose activities fester in an environment of suppressed information flow.”
The caucus however, sympathised with the organised private sector, manufacturing and service providing companies; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; online businesses owners and other hard working entrepreneurs across the country, “whose genuine business and means of livelihood have been crippled by the unwarranted ban on Twitter by the APC Federal Government.”
The minority lawmakers also identified with students, research-based organisations, media houses, the organised civil society, faith-based organisations and community groups, among others, whose information-based activities have been violently disrupted by the ban.
“In the same vein, the joint caucus sympathises with regional, states, local government as well as members of the international community, whose genuine and constructive activities have been crippled by the prohibition of twitter in Nigeria.
“It also identifies with traditional rulers, who have even found Twitter as a means of communicating with the constituents, especially in this era of insecurity in the country,” the statement added.
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