THE joint caucus of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the National Assembly has said that the Federal Government’s ban on Twitter is in favour of criminals and terrorist elements whose activities fester in an environment of suppressed information flow in the country.
In a joint statement issued by the Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe and House Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu, on Wednesday, the caucus described the ban as draconian.
The statement noted that lawmakers under the party were concerned about the anguish Nigerians, especially the youths, were passing through as a result of the ban.
“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 ethical violation,” part of the statement had said.
“The joint caucus, therefore, calls 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.
“It is agonising that Nigeria and Nigerians have been losing billions of naira on a daily basis since the ban on Twitter. This is completely unacceptable as it is worsening 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.”
While urging Nigerians to disregard threats of prosecution by the president, the caucus charged them to take advantage of technology to circumvent the ban as they would not be contravening any law in the country or any international statute.
The lawmakers said they recognised the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, which Nigeria was a signatory to, as well as provisions of Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), stating that “by these provisions, no one will be violating any law for using Twitter in Nigeria.”
It sympathised with regional, state, local governments as well as members of the international community whose genuine and constructive activities had been crippled by the prohibition of Twitter in Nigeria.
The caucus also identified with traditional rulers, who had found Twitter as a means of communicating with the constituents, especially in the era of insecurity in the country, the statement added.
The caucus berated the APC-led government for abandoning its duty of addressing the serious economic and security problems confronting the nation to focus on “victimising Nigerians over their disagreement with Twitter for deleting a post by an individual.”
It called on the Buhari’s government to swallow its pride, accept its misdoing and settle whatever issue it had with Twitter instead of resorting to inflicting pains on Nigerians.