From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives, has threatened to institute a legal action against the Federal Government over the recent suspension of micro blogging and social networking site, Twitter, in the country.
The caucus, in a statement by its leader, Kingsley Chinda, on Sunday, said the action, apart from been unconstitutional, also lowers the image of the country in the comity of democratic nations.
The opposition lawmakers also described the directive to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to license social media operators in the country as a surreptitious attempt to introduce the unpopular ‘Social Media Bill’ by mere executive fiat.
They equally expressed serious concerns over attempts by the government to arrest and prosecute Nigerians, , and who have continued to express themselves through their twitter handles by using the VPN application.
The PDP lawmakers noted the recent ban on use of Twitter in the country, is “a precursor to more ominous actions of blotting out dissenting voices.
“An act of desperation of a non performing and failed govt to intimidate and cow the citizens to consolidate its hold on power by brute force.”
The caucus added that ” 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.”
Consequently, the opposition lawmakers charged the government to immediately rescind the Twitter ban and plans to begin the licensing of social media operators or face litigation.