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Lawmakers decry Twitter ban by Nigerian govt, say it’s a constitutional violation

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The minority caucus in the House of Representatives has decried the ban of the social media platform, Twitter, by the Federal Government, saying it is a clear violation of freedom of speech and other democratic rights and tenets as provided by the Nigerian constitution.

Also, the caucus said the ban may constitute a major setback capable of diminishing public confidence and could hinder other genuine efforts by the legislature to strengthen democratic tenets in the country, especially as it comes at a time the National Assembly is conducting public hearing towards the amendment of the constitution.

In a statement issued on Saturday by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, titled ‘Reps Minority Caucus Condemns Suspension of Twitter’, the caucus described the ban as “provocative, obnoxious and unjustifiable.”

According to the opposition, the suspension “smacks of intolerance, insensitivity, and aversion to the views, opinions, and aspirations of Nigerian citizens, especially the youth, on matters of state.”

READ ALSO: Nigerian govt orders arrest of persons using Twitter despite ban

The statement partly read, “Our caucus rejects this thoughtless decision of the Federal Government, which amounts to a clampdown and a direct infringement on the rights of Nigerians to free speech as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“It further shows the All Progressives Congress-led administration as one that is unwilling to listen to Nigerians but ready to use any means to suppress and subjugate its citizens.

“The minority caucus is disturbed that the suspension of Twitter in the country came after the social media platform deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweets. Such response by the Federal Government has raised further concerns over the APC-led administration’s disturbing rating on issues of political intolerance, abuse of rights, and violation of rules in our country.

“The minority caucus cautions that the development is capable of leading to further restiveness among Nigerians and worsen the situation in the country.

“Moreover, this action of the Federal Government, coming at a time the National Assembly is conducting its public hearing towards the amendment of the constitution, may constitute a major setback capable of diminishing public confidence in the exercise as well as other genuine efforts by the legislature to strengthen democratic tenets in the country.”

The caucus, therefore, called on the President to immediately reverse the suspension placed on Twitter so as not to worsen the already tense situation in the country.

By Victor Uzoho

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