The recent ban of Twitter by the Nigerian Government, and plans to order Social media and OTT services to obtain licenses from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is not backed by any known law, policy, regulation or administrative directive, according to a recent report.
The report, published by geopolitical and socioeconomic research firm, SBM Intelligence, stated that the laws backing the ban and order were not made subject to any law or policy directive of the Nigerian government, and as such, stood on questionable legal grounds.
What the report said
“There is existing legal precedent that essentially invalidates Malami’s position. In the 1961 case of Aoko v. Fagbemi, the court held that a woman could not be convicted for adultery in the southern states of Nigeria because it was not prescribed as an offence in any written law in those states,” they said.
The 1999 Constitution gives further support to this position in Section 36 (12), where it says that a person shall not be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and penalty therefore is prescribed in a written law. That subsection further defines a written law as “an Act of the National Assembly or a Law of a State, any subsidiary legislation or instrument under the provisions of a law.”
In the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Maideribe vs Federal Government, the then CJN Mahmud Mohammed in his lead judgement also leaned on Section 36(8), which says: “No person shall be held to be guilty of a criminal offence on account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed for any criminal offence heavier than the penalty in force at the time the offence was committed,” they added.
The report stated that the entire prosecutorial, judicial and correctional heft of the Nigerian government was incapable of arresting, processing, prosecuting and incarcerating even a fraction of the potential offenders that this ban was sure to create.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, ordered the immediate prosecution of Nigerians still making use of the microblogging platform, Twitter, despite the ban of its operations in Nigeria by the Federal Government.