From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has slammed the Federal Government of Nigeria over its suspension of the operations of the microblogging platform, Twitter.
NAS in a statement by the NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje, entitled “Twitter’s Suspension: The slide into tyranny”, stated that it is appalled by the action and ‘condemn it in its entirety as the latest development sadly buttresses the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government‘s trademark predilection for suppressing free speech, stifling the Nigerian civic space and trampling on the fundamental rights of Nigerians.’
Owoaje, who dismissed the reasons given for the suspension, pointed out that the Nigerian Government should have taken up any issue it has with Twitter directly rather than ‘drag the whole country into this personal vendetta like human shields.’
He noted that the ‘suspension illustrates a habitual arrogance of power and misconception of the apparatus of the state as unanswerable tools for the promotion of personal agenda and private endeavours.’
Owoaje expressed sadness that the government took the unconstitutional step without thinking about ‘its implication for the ease of doing business and its continued abysmal disrespect for freedom of speech, due process, free enterprise and economic development.
‘Patriotism does not imply a requirement to supine obedience and servitude. Nigeria operates a constitutional democracy and any action that is inconsistent with democratic norms and principles would be resisted through legitimate actions.
‘The Nigerian government should immediately rescind its retrogressive step and abandon this futile and anti-democratic repression of dissent, including moves to gag Nigerians through the regulation of social media platforms by the NBC,’ Owoaje declared