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Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has stayed true to reiterated his threat of prosecuting Nigerians who have continued to use Twitter despite a federal government’s suspension of the micro-blogging platform.
He claims that punishing users will deter other violators from using the app.
“The essence of the law is to achieve stability in the country” and prosecution “will serve as a deterrence to others,” Mr Malami told the Committee to Protect Journalists via a messaging app on Tuesday.
The Federal Government last Friday suspended the operations of Twitter, the microblogging and social networking service, in Nigeria.
Lai Mohammed, Minister of information, announced the indefinite suspension in a statement.
According to the statement, the minister cited “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
A day after the ban, Malami threatened to prosecute Nigerians who were still using the Virtual Private Networks to access Twitter even though no Nigerian law makes it illegal to tweet.
But he defied his directives and that of the Nigerian Government on Tuesday when he deactivated his account. This is because it is impossible to deactivate an account without logging into the platform.
The majority of Twitter users including politicians, news agencies and civil societies have disregarded the federal government’s directive and have continued to access Twitter through the use of VPN and other settings on their phones.
They claim the directive of the federal government is a mere announcement that is not backed by the law or an executive order.