By Kelvin Ohoror
The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has condemned in strong terms the declaration by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government of Nigeria that it has lifted the ban on the use of Twitter in Nigeria, affirming that the ban in the first place was unconstitutional.
The Caucus described the “declaration” as a further demonstration of the Federal Government’s appetite to suppress constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens in Nigeria.
According to a statement on Friday by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, the caucus held that freedom of speech and opinion by Nigerians, including expressing such through social media tools like Twitter, are guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and cannot be subjected to partisan approval or regulation under a democratic rule.
“That is why at the wake of the ban on the use of Twitter in Nigeria in June 2021, the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives forcefully condemned the decision as provocative, obnoxious and unjustifiable clampdown on the rights of Nigerians which also showed the APC government’s intolerance and aversion to the views, opinions and aspirations of Nigerian citizens, especially the youths, on matters of state.
“It was also in the light of that that the Minority Caucus in the National Assembly stood by the law and charged Nigerians to continue using Twitter irrespective of the unconstitutional ban since they would not be contravening any known law in Nigeria or any international statutes.
“Our caucus holds that the declaration of a lift on the ban on Twitter amounts to regulatory approval on freedom of speech, which is completely unknown to our laws. The APC government should rather be apologizing to Nigerians for infringing on their rights as well as for the huge economic losses recorded as a result of the ban,” the Minority Reps stated in the Statement.
The Caucus, therefore, insisted that instead of seeking to suppress free speech in Nigeria, the APC government should be open to the views of Nigerians and make adjustments for the good of the nation.
While commending Nigerians for their resilience, innovations and resistance to suppression by the APC government, the Minority Caucus assured that they will never relent in fighting for the rights of the people at all times.