The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) says it will institute a lawsuit against the federal government following the decision to suspend Twitter’s operations in Nigeria.
The government suspended Twitter’s operations indefinitely, after accusing the micro-blogging site of “undermining Nigeria’s existence”.
In a statement on Friday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, said the government was forced to act because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
But, Olumide Akpata, NBA president, in a statement made via the social media platform, said the federal government lacked constitutional authority to back its decision.
Akpata described the government’s action as a “disguised attempt to regulate social media, restrict freedom of speech and shrink civic space”.
He said the government has also “suspended the right of Nigerians to freely express their constitutionally guaranteed opinions” through Twitter.
He said if the decision is not reversed, the NBA will sue the government to protect the country’s democracy.
“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 NBA president stated.
“The NBA 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 NBA will have no choice but to challenge same in the interest of the public and for the sake of our democracy.”
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