Tyranny is unfolding in Nigeria as the government of President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday ordered the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation to begin immediate prosecution of those who violate the Federal Government’s order suspending Twitter operations in Nigeria.
Mr. Umar Gwandu, spokesman to the Attorney-General of Justice, Abubakar Malami, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘Twitter ban: Malami orders prosecution of offenders.’
The Buhari administration had on Friday ordered all internet service providers to suspend Twitter. However, many Nigerians have been using the Virtual Private Networks, VPN, to circumvent the ban, which had been dubbed illegal by the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA and top constitutional lawyers. The Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of expression and access to information.
The statement by the AGF read, “Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has directed the immediate prosecution of offenders of the Federal Government ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria.
“Malami directed the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation at the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, to swing into action and commence in earnest the process of prosecution of violators of the Federal Government De-activation of operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
“Malami directed the DPPF to liaise with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, National Communication Communication and other relevant government agencies to ensure the speedy prosecution of offenders without any further delay.”
Recall that President Buhari had, as a military dictator in 1984, censored Free Press with a noxious Decree No. 4.
Two Nigerian journalists were sent to jail under the Press decree, which purported to bar publication of “false statements likely to bring the government or officials into ridicule or disrepute.”
The two, Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor of the independent Guardian newspaper, served a total of almost 11 months, including time spent awaiting trial.