The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has declared Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami’s order to arrest and prosecute Nigerians using Twitter as illegal, null and void.
The PDP, in a statement it shared on Twitter on Saturday, asserted that the directive by Malami, is not only downright ludicrous, but shows the frenzied desperation by the President Muhammadu Buhari Presidency to muzzle, victimize, clamp down on innocent Nigerians and foist a totalitarian system on our country.
As DAILY POST earlier reported, the Attorney General had ordered that Nigerians who flouts the order by the Federal Government to stay away from Twitter which was yesterday banned indefinitely in the country, be arrested and prosecuted.
But the PDP said that nothing in the country’s extant laws, “not even the suspension of @Twitter in Nigeria, constitutionally criminalized the use of Twitter by Nigerians or empowers the Federal Governments to arrest and prosecute any Nigerians for using @Twitter.
“For Malami’s information, section 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that ‘a person shall not be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and the penalty therefor is prescribed in a written law, and in this subsection, a written law refers to an Act of the @nassnigeria or a law of a state, any subsidiary legislation or instrument under the provisions of the law’.
“President @MBuhari and his @OfficialAPCNg are informed that there is no extant law that defined the use of @Twitter as a criminal offence and there is no penalty prescribed in a written law for the use of @Twitter by any Nigerians.
“Moreover, they should also realize that the suspension of @Twitter by the @OfficialAPCNg Federal Government, in addition to its unconstitutionality, only suspended @Twitter operations and not the use of @Twitter by Nigerians.
“The directive by the Attorney General to arrest and prosecute any Nigerians found using @Twitter, does not have the backing of any law enacted by the @nassnigeria or any state legislative house, and as such, Malami’s declaration is completely of no legal consequence.
PDP described the AGF’s directive to arrest and prosecute those using the social media platform as an attempt to suspend the 1999 Constitution.
According to the party, Malami order bears the imprints of the leaked memo in which he (Malami) was said to have advised the President to suspend the constitution and strip Nigerians of their rights and freedom.
PDP cautions the Buhari government and the ruling APC to forthwith, stop the acts of suppression against Nigerians, adding that actions amounts to pushing the people to the wall.
Twitter was suspended in Nigeria on Friday after the social media platform deleted President Buhari’s tweet a few days earlier.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Friday announced that Twitter will no longer operate Nigeria, s decision that has been criticised by high and low in the country.