Twitter: NBA, SERAP threaten legal action as PDP, AI, others condemn ban

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The Nigerian Bar Association and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) have threatened legal actions against the federal government if it immediately fails to lift the suspension of Twitter in the country.

Trouble began on Tuesday after President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement threatened the people of the South-East geo-political zone. His remark deemed genocidal was deleted the next day by the micro-blogging site for violating its rules.

Reacting, the Buhari regime through Lai Mohammed, Information Minister, accused the giant social media platform of double standard by allowing separatists propagate their activities on its platform while pulling down that of the Nigerian leader.

On Friday, Mr Mohammed announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter, moments after another social media site, Facebook, deleted the controversial remarks of the president.

Kicking against the suspension are the NBA, SERAP, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Amnesty International (AI) and other Nigerians, especially critics of the present government.

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In a statement on Twitter, Olumide Akpata, national president of the legal body said NBA finds no constitutional or legal authority to support the peremptory action of the Federal Government.

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,” Mr Akpata tweeted.

Describing the action as illegal, SERAP in a statement on its Twitter handle said it will seek redress in court because Nigerians have a right to freedom of expression and access to information including online and “we plan to fight to keep it that way.”

Also, the PDP in its reaction called on the federal government to rescind its the suspension.

In a statement by Kola Olugbondiyan, its spokesperson, the opposition party described the ban as a “draconian action and a slide towards a fascist regime in our country.”

Condemning the suspension, Amnesty International said called for the immediate reverse the “unlawful suspension and other plans to gag the media, repress the civic space, and undermine Nigerians’ human rights.” 

“This action is clearly inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s international obligations including under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the UK-based group tweeted.

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On his part, Bukola Saraki, a former Senate President, in a tweet, described the action as unacceptable and called for a review of the suspension because the medium has been a source of income and livelihood to some Nigerian youths.

Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, also reacted suggesting he is not leaving the platform anytime soon.

 

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