A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kunle Adegoke has said the Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami are threading the wrong path.
He said this while reacting to the order instructing the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, DPPF, to commence the prosecution of those found using Twitter.
He stressed that before an act will constitute an offence, there must be a law enacted by the parliament, a legislature either by the National or the State Houses of Assembly criminalizing that particular act and providing punishment for it.
Malami had in a statement issued by his spokesman, Umar Gwandu, ordered the immediate prosecution of offenders of the Federal Government ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria.
Recall that after the ban slammed on Twitter by the federal government took effect on Saturday, Nigerians opted for Virtual Private Networks (VPN) in a bid to access the platform, InfoStride News had reported.
The Senior Advocate, however, explained that he is not aware of any law, making usage of Twitter an offence.
“I am not aware that there is a power in the presidency that says that once a particular news medium is banned anybody who publishes on that medium can be prosecuted for what particular offence.
”That particular order given cannot withstand the position of the constitution on Freedom of expression.”
“It is rather unfortunate that the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Malami are both threading on the wrong path. It is quite insensitive and intolerant of the president to even ban Twitter.
“The president, as far as I know, has issued more than 1000 tweets since I have been following the president’s handle, so if one is removed out of more than 1000 and because of that, this rash reaction, it shows that the president and its infringement are intolerance of criticism. Because the act by Twitter is even a criticism; it’s a criticism of what the president has said which they removed from their platform.
He said that the President after the critique should have clarified the statement. “Even if the critics are saying that this particular statement is wrong, it just calls for further clarification and that is how I think they should have proceeded rather than banning Twitter and declaring that people should be prosecuted for using Twitter.”
However, in his reaction, another lawyer, Dawood Ajetunmobi berated the order given by Malami saying the Minister is speaking for himself.
“There is a difference between the executive order and administrative order. The executive order has been gazetted by the government but the administrative order is decided by the government and can not be taken to law and you can not be punished for it.
“Whatever Malami says, whatever orders he gave out that is not from the position of law, that means he doesn’t have the power to do such a thing,” he stressed.
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