President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday contradited the argument of Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, at the ECOWAS court.
During his Independence Day address, Buhari said he had conditionally lifted the suspension of Twitter activities in Nigeria, a suspension Malami continues to defend at the ECOWAS court.
Malami’s 17-page document submitted on September 27 in defence of the Federal Government’s suspension of Twitter described possession of the platform’s app as seditious and punishable under Section 419 of the Penal Code (Northern States).
“It is apt to note that the possible prosecution of violator(s) does not only lie against the use and operation of Twitter in Nigeria, a careful examination of section 419 of the Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act shows that the installation of Twitter App alone could suffice as an offence under the section, that is the offence of possession seditious articles,” the court document said.
However, Buhari said in his speech that the conditions discussed with the microblogging platform are national security and cohesion, registration, physical presence and representation, fair taxation, dispute resolution and local content.
See Buhari’s speech on the suspension: “Social media is a very useful platform that has enabled millions of Nigerians to connect with loved ones, promote their businesses, socialise, and access news and other information.
“However, recent events have shown that the platform is not just an innocuous platform for information dissemination.
“Rather some users have misused the platform to organise, coordinate, and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments.
“To address these negative trends, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria on June 5, 2021 to allow the Government put measures in place to address these challenges.
“Following the suspension of Twitter operations, Twitter Inc. reached out to the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the impasse. Subsequently, I constituted a Presidential Committee to engage Twitter to explore the possibility of resolving the issue
“The Committee, along with its Technical Team, has engaged with Twitter and have addressed a number of key issues. These are: national security and cohesion; registration, physical presence and representation; fair taxation, dispute resolution; and local content.
“Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.”
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