The Joint Minority Caucus of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday ordered the continued use of Twitter despite the ban placed on the platform by the federal government.
The lawmakers insisted that the ban was draconian and unacceptable, saying many Nigerians are losing their sources of livelihood owing to the action.
This position was contained in a communique signed by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe the Minority Leader of the Senate) and Hon. Ndudi Elumelu the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
The opposition lawmakers also dismissed threats by the government to arrest and prosecute Nigerians for using Twitter, calling on Nigerians to “go ahead and use their Twitter (handles) as they would not be contravening any law in Nigeria or any international statute.”
“It is agonizing that Nigeria and Nigerians have been losing billions of naira on 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.
“The Joint Minority Caucus sympathizes with the organized private sector, manufacturing and service providing companies, small and medium enterprises, online business 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,” the statement partly reads.
They supported their claims with the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, which Nigeria is 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.
The Caucus further counseled 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.
This comes after the opposition lawmakers walked out of the plenary on Tuesday as the House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila stopped their leader from proceeding with his motion on the ban.