June 08, (THEWILL)- Nigeria’s Minister of Information Lai Mohammed says the Attorney General Abubakar Malami would ensure that Nigerians using Twitter, including Pastor Enoch Adeboye, after the Federal Government proclaimed its ban would be prosecuted.
The Minister said this in an interview with BBC Africa Focus on Monday, when asked if Adeboye will be prosecuted for using Twitter, despite justifying his insistence on using the platform with Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Article 19 of the UDHR states that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Aside from Adeboye, the Founder of the Deeper Life Church, Pastor W.F. Kumuyi, has also insisted that his church’s reach was tens of countries and its messages could be broadcast from anywhere outside Nigeria on Twitter.
Mohammed emphasised in the interview that the persistent use of Twitter in Nigeria was undermining the country’s corporate existence.
He said: “The government has suspended indefinitely, the operations of Twitter in Nigeria because of the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence and the government; also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to immediately commence the process of licencing all social media operations in Nigeria.”
According to him, Malami was in charge and had the final say on who to or not to prosecute.
He said: “The Attorney-General has made it clear that if anyone violates the regulation, that such person will be prosecuted. I think it is the right of the attorney-general to decide who to prosecute.”
In the Saturday statement, Malami had directed the Director of Public Prosecution to liaise with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the NCC and other relevant government agencies “to ensure the speedy prosecution of offenders without any further delay.”
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Monday insisted on using his Twitter account despite the ban on the social media platform by the Nigerian government.
“The Redeemed Christian Church of God is domiciled in more than 170 Nations & Territories,” Mr Adeboye tweeted on Monday. “The tweets here are in accordance to Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Kumuyi said the mission’s tweets were targeted at its global audience spread across five continents and over 100 nations.
“In view of the Twitter ban in Nigeria, please note that the content shared on this handle is targeted at a global audience in more than five continents and over 100 Nations and we share the content from any of these locations,” Kumuyi said.
Also Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna had also published statements on Twitter despite the ban.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that it was not within its purview to arrest and prosecute violators of the suspension order.
Making the clarification on Monday, the Director of Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, said, “The NCC is a regulator. It is not within our power to arrest or prosecute. Based on our statement, we limited ourselves based on the order given to us by the government, which was to instruct the operators to disconnect, which was what we did. So, the other aspects are not within our purview.”