FG May Prosecute Gov Makinde, Pastor Adeboye, Others For ‘Violation’ Of Twitter Ban
If the Nigerian Government should make good its threat, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church (RCCG), Enoch Adeboye, may be among those to be prosecuted for violating the Federal Government’s ban on Twitter use in Nigeria.
Although Governor Makinde is protected by virtue of the immunity the constitution grants him, the country’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice had ordered prosecution of any one found flouting the Federal Government’s directive.
The AGF had directed the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation in his office to, “swing into action and commence in earnest the process of prosecution of violators of the Federal Government De-activation of operations of Twitter in Nigeria.”
Although the AGF did not cite sections of the constitution to show how tweeting could become a crime, he directed the DPPF to, “liaise with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, National Communication (NCC) and other relevant government agencies to ensure the speedy prosecution of offenders without any further delay.”
Governor Makinde, Pastor Adeboye and former Kogi State Senator, Dino Melaye, appear to be among prominent Nigerians who are in violation of the Twitter ban which came into effect on Friday.
Governor Makinde had taken to his Twitter page on Saturday morining to criticize the Federal Government’s action.
“As leaders, we should go beyond emotional reactions to issues and think about how our actions will affect the people we lead and our international ratings socially and economically,” the governor said, adding that it had become a platform for “all Nigerians to exercise their fundamental right to express and publish an opinion. They use the platform to complain, argue and give feedback to government and its agencies who in turn, use these to improve policies.”
Makinde noted that, “Twitter has gone beyond a source of communication for many of our hardworking youths in Nigeria. It has become a source of livelihood for many, irrespective of their political affiliations or religious leanings….Others who may not have physical stores also rely on Twitter to give visibility to their products and services.”
RCCG GO, Adeboye, had also tweeted a video captioned “No Retreat, No Surrender” in which he preached against “running from the devil” when “the battle is hot”
On his part, Senator Melaye wondered if there was “any law criminalizing the use of Twitter in Nigeria today”.
Many Nigerians who also defied the directive had opted for Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps to access Twitter after telecom companies in the country blocked access to the microblogging service on the Federal Government’s orders.