The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has vowed to sue the Federal Government of Nigeria over the recent suspension of the operation of Twitter in the country if not reversed.
The caucus said the government action lacked the backing of the law and would negatively impact the image of Nigeria in the comity of democratic nations.
Leader of the caucus, Hon. Kingsley Chinda said in a statement, yesterday, in Abuja that the subsequent directive to the National Broadcasting Commission to license social media operators in the country is a surreptitious attempt to introduce the unpopular ‘Social Media Bill’ by mere executive fiat.
According to Chinda, it is a grave violation of the doctrine of separation of powers and an erosion of the rule of law.
The statement reads: ‘On Friday 4th June 2021, Nigerians received with rude shock the news of the Federal Government’s indefinite ‘suspension’ of Twitter Nigeria. This rather rash suspension was supposedly anchored on the allegation that Twitter had allowed its platform to be used “for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
“The announcement by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture also insidiously instructed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT (Over-The-Top) and social media operations in Nigeria.
“As expected, this announcement has sent shockwaves amongst believers in democracy and rule of law across Nigeria and the entire world.
“We note with great concern that the suspension of Twitter by the Federal Government is one more step in a litany of attempts to restrict the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens as enshrined in and guaranteed by Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution.
“Nigerians will recall that on 4th August, 2020, the Minister of Information and Culture issued/enacted an Amended 6th National Broadcasting Code for the country which similarly imposes restrictions on sundry fundamental freedoms.
“Convinced that the Broadcasting Code is a violation of Chapter IV of the Constitution, this Caucus filed a suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja Division in Suit No.:
FHC/ABJ/CS/1136/2020 between Rep. Kingsley Chinda & 8 Ors v. Minister of Information & 2 Ors. This matter is still pending.
“We also note with great worry attempts by the government, at least going by the statement issued by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN, to prosecute Nigerians who have chosen not to be cajoled by a government intent on violating their right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Section 36 of the Constitution 1999, and who have continued to express themselves through their twitter handles by using the VPN application.
“The supposed suspension imposed on Twitter has no legal foundation as executive fiats, no matter the language they’re couched, have no force of law. No citizen can be tried for an offence that has no basis in law or backed by a written law and punishment prescribed”.
“For many Nigerians, social media is not only a means of escape from the drudgery of daily existence, but has become a veritable source of employment, advertisement and meaningful engagement.
“Twitter, in particular, has become an integral component of the citizens’ ability to keep the government in check and to provide real-time feedback on the impact of government’s activities on the citizenry.
“It is worrisome that, at a time when the country faces a real existential crisis and totters on the brink of implosion from acute challenges such as widespread insecurity manifesting in banditry, kidnapping and the activities of armed non-state actors across the Federation, coupled with the parlous state of the economy resulting in ballooning inflation and massive youth unemployment, the Federal Government appears to be more preoccupied with stifling the right of Nigerian citizens to freely express themselves on social media and elsewhere.
“It is imperative to state that Nigeria operates a Constitutional democracy which guarantees the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens. At the core of these freedoms is the right to free speech, for this is the foundation upon which any democratic society is built.
“The respected American broadcast Journalist Walter Cronkite succinctly captured it when he said that “Freedom of the Press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.” Any attempt to stifle free speech is therefore not only evidently unconstitutional, but in violent contravention of the very ethos of democracy.
“Therefore, we condemn the Federal Government’s decision to suspend Twitter in the strongest possible terms and call on the authorities to immediately rescind this decision in the interest of free speech and the rule of law, indeed in the interest of democracy.
“More so, this brash and rash action heavily lowers the image of Nigeria in the comity of democratic nations.
“The directive to the NBC by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to license social media operators is also a surreptitious attempt to introduce the unpopular ‘Social Media Bill’ by mere executive fiat. This, in our view, is a grave violation of the doctrine of separation of powers and an erosion of the rule of law.
“Whilst, these manifestly undemocratic actions of government on its own is grave enough, we fear that it may be a precursor to more ominous actions of blotting out dissenting voices.
“It is a known fact that as non performing, fragile or failed governments face increasing criticism from its citizenry, out of desperation, they resort to more draconian and lawless actions to intimidate and cow the citizens to consolidate its hold on power by brute force.
“As members and leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (P.DP) Caucus in the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, our objectives are to ensure compliance with the rule of law, good governance, the preservation of law and order, fidelity to the principles of constitutionalism and the general adherence to democratic ethos and principles in public administration throughout the length and breadth of the Federation.
“In the discharge of our foremost duty as custodians of the Constitution and representatives of the Nigeria people, we hereby request the Federal Government to immediately reverse the decision to suspend the access of Nigerian citizens to Twitter.
“We also call on the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to immediately rescind its directive to the NBC to begin the licensing of social media operators in the Country, having regard to the absence of any enabling legislative framework for such directive.
“We hereby give you NOTICE that in the event of the failure, refusal and or neglect of the Federal Government to withdraw, reverse and/or cease the implementation of these oppressive and unconstitutional actions, we shall be constrained to institute legal proceedings at the appropriate judicial venue within the shortest possible time”.
Jubilation As GDI Takes PVC Collection Sensitisation Rally To Oyigbo
The tumultuous crowd that attended the event from the ten electoral wards of Oyigbo was a bold statement that Oyigbo people have embraced the message which GDI had come to deliver: ‘Operation Go and Collect your PVC’ .
Speaker after speaker at the occasion underscored the importance of the PVC to the electoral process .
Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, highlighted the need for eligible voters to consider it as their duty to collect all unclaimed PVCs still at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, offices across the state.
Ambassador Akawor who is also the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, thanked the people of Oyigbo for the massive turnout, noting that it was an indication that they were well aware of their civic responsibilities.
Ambassador Akawor who thanked GDI for initiating the sensitisation program, described it as timely, instructive and worth the while.
Gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State, Amaopusenibo Siminialayi Fubara, who spoke in Ndoki language, said he was happy to be home, explaining that the people of Oyigbo, Opobo and Bonny are one and the same people.
Amaopusenibo Fubara expressed delight at the level of mobilisation of the people but advised them to ensure they collected their PVCs and be ready to make good use of it at the appropriate time.
The well attended rally featured procession by the ten wards of the LGA who defied the rain to showcase their level of enthusiasm and sensitisation.
Present at the event were the Deputy Governorship candidate, Prof. (Mrs) Ngozi Ordu; Chairmen of local government councils; members of National and State assemblies; PDP and GDI members and stakeholders, including the President-General of GDI, High Chief Bright Amaewhule; Deputy Chairman of PDP in the state, Hon Chukwuemeka Aaron and the State Secretary, Dr Benibo George.
There were also solidarity speeches from stakeholders of Oyigbo LGA.
Politicians Paid N5m To Destroy Me, PDP Nat Sec Cries Out
The Senator disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri, through his Special Adviser on Media, Ikenna Onuoha.
Anyanwu who accused some of his party members in the state of being behind the plot of destroying him also said they were the same party members who were not happy with his emergence as the National Secretary of the PDP.
According to him, “We have uncovered a plot by desperate politicians to blackmail and impugn the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu. Information at our disposal showed that these desperate politicians otherwise known as “Internally Displaced Politicians – IDPs” are recruiting online media hatchet writers to assist in running down the image of the PDP National Scribe.
“Available information also has it that these politicians have stationed ten (10) known “cash and carry” online media writers and paid N500, 000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) to each of the recruited writers.
“We also gathered that they have selected eight (8) newspapers in the state and promised to pay N100, 000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) on monthly basis to each of the newspapers all in a bid to assist in discrediting Senator Anyanwu. No doubt, these Internally Displaced Politicians are furious over their dwindling and diminishing political relevance since the majority of our members have come to know their true colour.
“We are aware that these politicians resorting to self-help are angry that an Imo son, Senator Anyanwu emerged the National Secretary of the main opposition party in Nigeria against their failed plot to foist two Anambra sons on our party as National Secretary.
“We also uncovered that these politicians championing the fake news against Senator Anyanwu are afraid that the ongoing rebranding in our party, the PDP might affect their selfish political hegemony against their desperate bid to grab power. We have noted their fears since the leadership of the Divine Mandate Movement (DMM) was rejigged and we can only tell them sorry for their failed ambition.
“It is worthy of note that since his inauguration as PDP National Scribe, these mischief makers have continued in their avowed plot to distract Senator Anyanwu using unsubstantial stories with the colouration of falsehood aimed at blackmailing him.”
“Recently, in their desperate bid to blackmail our National Secretary, these mischief makers conjured another fake news that Senator Anyanwu gave a stern warning to IPOB and cautioned Igbo Youths against Biafra agitations. This was immediately refuted thereby destabilizing their target.
“Similarly, just recently, as usual, the confused politicians also criminally forged the signature of Senator Anyanwu’s Media Aide alleging that he ordered members of IPOB to account for Killings in Imo State while using the massacre of 14 Otulu Youths in Awo Omamma as a pointer. Recall, they had used a known online media merchant to accuse our National Secretary of hijacking the just concluded PDP 3-man ad-hoc delegates and primaries respectively, unknown to them that our party members are aware of those that wanted to deny the party candidates in the primaries,” he said.
LG Boss Set To Commence Community Hall Project For Udekama Kingdom
Speaking during a consultative meeting with stakeholders of the community, comprising chiefs, Community Development Committee (CDC), youth and women representatives, at the Council Secretariat in Degema, Monday, the Chairman apprised that the meeting was convened in order to seek the consent and approval of the community, before its commencement, inline with his administration’s policy of consulting and involving community members in development projects and programmes of government.
He commended the community for their patience and steadfastness with his administration while projects were being sited in other communities, maintaining that his administration was committed to fulfilling its campaign promise of executing projects in all communities of the LGA.
He however took a swipe at some misguided persons who rush to the social media to lampoon and abuse government for allegedly not embarking on projects in all communities of the LGA simultaneously, describing it as unrealistic, as no administration could achieve that, considering the paucity of funds.
The Council Chairman stated that his love for the Communities and people of the LGA motivates him to do what he is doing for them, adding that governments were expected to work for the betterment of society.
“People often say, even to my hearing, that this chairman will leave office broke with a waterproof bag. But I tell them in all honesty that I am comfortable with my monthly take-home.
“We are not here to enrich ourselves, but to make Degema LGA better than we met it and that is partly why we are investing heavily in infrastructures in our various Communities,” he stated.
The Council Boss, who informed the community of his plan for the community, however, asked them to nominate projects of their choice for consideration, if they preferred something else.
After the community representatives gave a nod for the construction of the Town Hall, the Council Chairman unveiled the prototype and asked them to provide a piece of land that is not a subject of litigation for the commencement of the project.
Responding, the Onu-Onyan Ekein of Udekama Kingdom, King (Dr.) Reuben Zachariah Amos, Peika 7, thanked the Council Chairman for his kind gesture to the people of the area.
Represented by Chief Oho-Oswo Francis, the traditional ruler commended the Chairman for changing the past narrative of the LGA, noting that he has done better than all past Chairmen of the Council.
While particularly thanking the Chairman for appointing their sons and daughters into his administration, the traditional ruler promised that his people would continue to be of good conduct to engender peace in the LGA.
“We want to thank the Chairman for honouring his promise to us such as siting this project in our community, appointing our sons and daughters into his cabinet, amongst others, which has never happened in the previous regimes. ”So our chairman has started on a very good footing by siting this Town Hall in our community and we accept it in good faith and we say a big thanks to our chairman.
“We wish to promise our Chairman that we shall continue to be of good behavior, we will continue to conduct ourselves creditably and there will be no breach of the peace,” he assured.
The community representatives later led the Council Chairman into the community, where a piece of land was shown to him to site the Town Hall project.
Oil & Energy5 days ago
From Coal To Gas: How Europe Is Easing Its Energy Crisis
Oil & Energy5 days ago
NLNG Denies Involvement In Illegal Gas Exportation
Oil & Energy5 days ago
NNPC Ltd Launches Crude Theft Monitoring Applications
Opinion3 days ago
Bleak Human Development Index?
Oil & Energy5 days ago
‘Seplat’s $1.28bn ExxonMobil Assets Acquisition, Contempt Of Court’
Oil & Energy5 days ago
NCDMB Lauds TotalEnergies On Ikike’s First Oil
Maritime5 days ago
NPA Blames Under-Utilisation Of Eastern Port On Insecurity
Business5 days ago
NLNG Signs GMoU With Six Communities