A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has declared that there is no law against tweeting, hence the federal government can’t stop them from tweeting.
This is as the CSOs vowed to continue tweeting despite the ban by the federal government on the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
The coalition, made up of 25 CSOs in a statement on Tuesday noted that the position of the federal government on the use of Twitter is an assault on civic space and an attempt to clamp down on free speech which is a fundamental human right.
They also said the declaration by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami that violators of the government ban on Twitter will be prosecuted is illegal, an abuse of power and alien to the constitution of the country.
The statement reads: “We strongly support statements released by various civil society organisations and other stakeholders, condemning the suspension of the microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria, as this represents a continued assault on the civic space and anti-democratic clampdown on free speech,” the statement said.
“We are also aware of the statement credited to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, threatening to arrest anyone who continues to tweet after the announced suspension.
“We, therefore, wish to categorically say that we, as individuals, and our organisations, do not know any law that the act of sharing information breaks, and will continue to use Twitter, other social media platforms, and other media channels, to share information and engage with citizens.
“We note that Section 36(12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) makes it impossible to convict any person for a criminal offence if that offence is not defined and its penalty not prescribed in a written law. On the power of Section 36(12) which protects a fundamental human right, we, therefore, note and state unequivocally that the Attorney General’s statement threatening to prosecute citizens using Twitter contravenes the Constitution and is a violation of human rights and an utter abuse of power.
“We stand with Nigerians who continue to exercise their fundamental human rights, especially as we will be celebrating Democracy Day on Saturday, June 12.”
The 25 CSOs that signed the statement are:
‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
‘Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, EiE Nigeria.
Adebayo Raphael, Centre for Liberty
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Cheta Nwanze (@chxta)
Chioma Agwuegbo, TechHerNG
Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution
Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programs,
Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI)
Dorothy Njemanze, Executive Director,
Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)
Edetean Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda
Hamzat Lawal, Connected Development [CODE] / Follow The Money
Joshua Olufemi, Founder, Dataphyte
Idayat Hassan, Executive Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
Kolawole Oluwadare, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
Lex Initiative for Rights Advocacy and Development (LIRAD)
Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA)
Nelson Olanipekun, Citizen Gavel
Olabukunola Williams, Executive Director, Education as a Vaccine
Oluwatosin Alagbe, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism
Raising New Voices Initiative
Seun Onigbinde, Director, BudgIT
Udy Akpan, Executive Director, Youth Alive Foundation (YAF)
Y.Z Y’au, Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has reacted to the ban of the micro-blogging site, Twitter, in Nigeria by the Federal Government.
Naija News understands that the Green chamber has decided to investigate the decision of the executive to ban the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
Addressing his colleagues on the resumption of plenary after a two-week break on Tuesday, Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila said the investigation is to determine whether due process was followed in making the decision.
Gabjabiamila noted that the chamber will also consider the legal frameworks upon which the federal government made the decision.
He added that the Minister of Information and Tourism, Lai Mohammed, will also be invited to brief the House on the decision.
This article was originally published on Nigeria News