Finally, Twitter blocked in Nigeria as Malami orders prosecution of offenders
Telecoms operators in Nigeria have blocked Twitter in Nigeria, a day after the Federal government announced its indefinite suspension.
Twitter users in the country woke up on Saturday unable to access the microblogging websites while some navigated the hurdle using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), an industry group, confirmed it had received directives from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator, to suspend access to Twitter.
The President of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, made this known in a statement on Saturday.
Mr Adebayo noted that the association wished to confirm that its members had received formal instructions from NCC, the industry regulator, to suspend access to Twitter.
“ALTON has also conducted a robust assessment of the request in accordance with internationally accepted principles.
“Based on national interest provisions in the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and within the licence terms under which the industry operates; our members have acted in compliance with the directives of NCC, the industry regulator.
“We will continue to engage all relevant authorities and stakeholders and will act as may be further directed by the NCC, ” Mr Adebayo said.
He said the association remains committed to supporting the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and upholding the rights of citizens.
He, however, said as an industry, ALTON endorsed the position of the United Nations that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online.
He noted that this included respecting and protecting the rights of all people to communicate, to share information freely and responsibly, and to enjoy privacy and security regarding their data and their use of digital communications.
The Federal Government of Nigeria on Friday announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,
announced the suspension in a statement issued by his office in Abuja.
He cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are “capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
The Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.
The government had announced the suspension barely 48 hours after the microblogging site deleted a post by Mr Buhari referencing the country’s civil war, and threatening to treat those attacking government buildings “with the language they understand.”
His comments received condemnation from Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has directed the immediate prosecution of offenders of the Federal Government’s ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria.
This was announced in a statement issued by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on Saturday.
Spokesperson of the Ministry, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu said the AGF has directed DPPF to swing into immediate action and commence prosecution of the violators of the ban.
“Malami directed the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF) at the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, to swing into action and commence in earnest the process of prosecution of violators of the Federal Government De-activation of operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
“Malami directed the DPPF to liase with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, National Communication Communication (NCC) and other relevant government agencies to ensure the speedy prosecution of offenders without any further delay,” the statement read in part.