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Twitter ban: NASS minority caucus tell Nigerians to ignore Buhari

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As reactions continue to trail the Federal government’s ban of Twitter operations in Nigeria, the joint minority caucus
of the Senate and the House of Representatives have urged Nigerians to continue the use of the social media platform.

The caucus disclosed that they met to discuss the implication of banning the use of Twitter in Nigeria and concluded that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has gone draconian, saying the development was unacceptable.

The caucus described as empty threat, government’s warning to prosecute those using Twitter despite the ban.

In a statement which was signed by the leaders of the caucus in the upper and lower legislative Chambers, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Hon. Tony Ndudi Elumelu and made available to journalists on Wednesday in Abuja dismissed the threat by government.

“The APC-led government’s warning to arrest and prosecute Nigerians using twitter is empty.

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“We call on Nigerians to go ahead and use their twitter as they would not be contravening any law in Nigeria or any international statute.”

The joint caucus cited the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, stating that Nigeria was signatory to, as well as provisions of Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The lawmakers insisted that no Twitter user would breach or violate laws anywhere 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 ethic violation.

“The joint caucus therefore call 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.

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The caucus further expressed agony that Nigerians were losing billions of money daily due to Twitter ban, describing the situation as the worst in the history of Nigeria, particularly that government was not doing anything to mitigate 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 joint minority caucus sympathizes with the organized private sector, manufacturing and service providing companies, small and medium enterprises, online businesses owners and other hardworking 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.

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“It also identifies with our students, research-based organization, media houses, the organized civil society, faith-based organizations, community groups among others, whose information-based activities have been violently disrupted by the ban.

“In the same vein, the Joint Caucus sympathizes 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 caucus counsels the Federal Government to swallow its pride, accept its misdoing and go and settle whatever issue it has with Twitter instead of this resort to inflicting pains on Nigerians”, the statement concluded.

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