Nigeria

Coalition: We will not stop using Twitter

FILE PHOTO - The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS-Brendan McDermid-File Photo

A coalition of 25 civil society organisations (CSOs) says it will not stop using Twitter.

The CSOs said this in reaction to the comments by Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF).

On Saturday, Malami ordered the prosecution of anyone caught violating the suspension of Twitter in the country. His directive came after the federal government announced the suspension of Twitter’s operations.

Twitter’s suspension came after it took down a controversial tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement on Tuesday, the CSOs said they are not aware of any law that prohibits the use of Twitter.

They described the suspension of the social media platform as an assault on the civic space and a clampdown on free speech.

“We strongly support statements released by various civil society organisations and other stakeholders, condemning the suspension of the microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria, as this represents a continued assault on the civic space and anti-democratic clampdown on free speech,” the statement said.

“We are also aware of the statement credited to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, threatening to arrest anyone who continues to tweet after the announced suspension.

“We, therefore, wish to categorically say that we, as individuals, and our organisations, do not know any law that the act of sharing information breaks, and will continue to use Twitter, other social media platforms, and other media channels, to share information and engage with citizens.

“We note that Section 36(12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) makes it impossible to convict any person for a criminal offence if that offence is not defined and its penalty not prescribed in a written law. On the power of Section 36(12) which protects a fundamental human right, we therefore note and state unequivocally that the Attorney General’s statement threatening to prosecute citizens using Twitter contravenes the Constitution and is a violation of human rights and an utter abuse of power.

“We stand with Nigerians who continue to exercise their fundamental human rights, especially as we will be celebrating Democracy Day on Saturday, June 12.”

Here are the 25 CSOs that signed the statement:

— ‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
— ‘Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, EiE Nigeria.
— Adebayo Raphael, Centre for Liberty
— Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
— Cheta Nwanze (@chxta)
— Chioma Agwuegbo, TechHerNG
— Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution
— Concerned Nigerians
— Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programs,
— Yiaga Africa
— Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI)
— Dorothy Njemanze, Executive Director,
— Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)
— Edetean Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda
— Hamzat Lawal, Connected Development [CODE] / Follow The Money
— Joshua Olufemi, Founder, Dataphyte
— Idayat Hassan, Executive Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
— Kolawole Oluwadare, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
— Lex Initiative for Rights Advocacy and Development (LIRAD)
— Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA)
— Nana Nwachukwu
— Nelson Olanipekun, Citizen Gavel
— Olabukunola Williams, Executive Director, Education as a Vaccine
— Oluwatosin Alagbe, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism
— Raising New Voices Initiative
— Seun Onigbinde, Director, BudgIT
— Tunde Aremu
— Udy Akpan, Executive Director, Youth Alive Foundation (YAF)
— Y.Z Y’au, Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)

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