NBA Threatens to Sue Nigerian Government over Twitter Ban

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Olumide Akpata, NBA, Threatens, Sue, Nigerian Government, Twitter Ban
NBA president, Olumide Akpata

NBA Threatens to Sue Nigerian Government over Twitter Ban

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has threatened to sue the federal government over what it called “arbitrary decision” to ban the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.

NBA said in a statement signed bi its president, Olumide Akpata on Friday that if the “decision is not immediately reversed’, it “will have no choice but to challenge same in the interest of the public and our democracy.”

The federal government of Nigeria on Friday said it has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.

The statement was signed by Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister of Information and Culture.

The government of Nigeria cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence as the reason for its action.

The Minister said the federal government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.

NBA said it “noted with great concern the extraordinary decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to suspend the operations of Twitter in Nigeria and, by necessary implication, the right of Nigerians to freely express their constitutionally guaranteed opinions through that medium.

“The Federal Government also directed the Nigerian Communications Commission to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria, which is, at best, yet another disguised attempt to regulate social media, restrict freedom of speech and shrink civic space.

“Whether one likes it or not, we are operating a constitutional democracy, the primary consequence of which is that everything must be done according to law; and government must be conducted within the framework of recognised rules and principles which restrict discretionary power.

“The Nigerian Bar Association finds no constitutional or legal authority to support the peremptory action of the Federal Government to suspend the operations of Twitter in Nigeria and deprive Nigerians of their right to freely express their constitutionally guaranteed opinions. Beyond the dent on our constitutional democracy, at a time when the Nigerian economy is unarguably struggling, the impact of arbitrary decisions such as this on investor confidence is better imagined.

Consequently, if this decision is not immediately reversed, the Nigerian Bar Association will have no choice but to challenge same in the interest of the public and our democracy.

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