The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is set to institute a lawsuit against the Federal Government following the decision to suspend Twitter’s operations in Nigeria.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had earlier today announced the suspension of Twitter operation in the most populous black nation.
The Nigerian Government took to Twitter to announce the suspension via the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture Twitter account.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Olumide Akpata, NBA president, in a statement made via the social media platform, said the federal government lacked constitutional authority to back its decision.
The @NigBarAssoc has noted with great concern the extraordinary decision of the Federal Govt 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 FGN also directed the @NgComCommission 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; government must be conducted within the framework of recognised rules and principles which restrict discretionary power.
The @NigBarAssoc finds no constitutional or legal authority to support the peremptory action of the Federal Government to suspend the operations of Twitter in Nigeria. 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 @NigBarAssoc will have no choice but to challenge same in the interest of the public and for the sake of our democracy.