The Joint Minority Caucus of the Senate and the House of Representatives met to discuss the Federal Government’s ban on Twitter, which was imposed by the All Progressives Congress (APC), and reiterated its condemnation of the embargo as draconian and unacceptably harsh.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Minority Leader of the Senate) and Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (Minority Leader of the House of Representatives) signed a statement expressing their views.
The Joint Minority Caucus also disregarded threats by the APC-led government to arrest and imprison Nigerians who use Twitter in the statement, and urged Nigerians to use Twitter nonetheless because they would not be breaking any Nigerian or international law.
The Joint Minority Caucus acknowledged the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, to which Nigeria is a signatory, as well as Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), noting that no one will be breaking any laws by using Twitter in Nigeria under these provisions.
The Joint Caucus expressed its grief at the misery that Nigerians, particularly youths, are experiencing as a result of the APC-led Federal Government’s feeling slighted that an individual’s post was deleted by Twitter for an ethical violation.
As a result, the joint caucus urged Nigerians to take use of the myriad technological opportunities available to them, including continuing to use Twitter, which is legal in our country.
“It is excruciating that Nigeria and Nigerians have lost billions of naira every day since Twitter was banned. This is utterly unacceptable, since it exacerbates the country’s already dire economic situation and alarming unemployment rate.
“Moreover, Nigeria’s Twitter ban looks to benefit criminal and terrorist elements, whose activities thrive in an atmosphere where information flow is restricted.
“The Joint Minority Caucus sympathises with the organised private sector, manufacturing and service-provider companies, small and medium enterprises, online business owners, and other hardworking entrepreneurs across the country, whose genuine businesses and means of livelihood have been crippled by the APC federal government’s unjustified ban on Twitter,” the statement reads in part.
Our students, research-based organisations, media houses, organised civil society, faith-based organisations, and community groups, among others, have had their information-based operations violently disrupted by the ban.
In a same spirit, the Joint Caucus expressed sympathy with regional, state, and municipal governments, as well as foreign community members, whose real and beneficial actions have been hampered by Nigeria’s Twitter ban.
It also resonated with traditional rulers, who have turned to Twitter as a means of engaging with constituents, particularly in this time of unrest in the country.
The Joint Caucus slammed the APC-led government for ignoring its responsibility to address the nation’s critical economic and security crises in favour of wasting energy victimising Nigerians over a disagreement with Twitter over the deletion of an individual’s message.
Instead of resorting to inflicting agony on Nigerians, the Caucus advised the Federal Government to swallow its pride, confess its wrongdoing, and go about resolving whatever issue it has with Twitter.
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