In defence of the Federal Government’s Twitter ban, Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Information Minister, disclosed that the FG is further empowered to take all reasonable steps to defend its cyberspace where it perceives or finds a cybercrime.
The Minister disclosed this on Tuesday to the House of Representatives Joint Committee on the Suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.
What Lai Mohammed said
The Minister said public interest takes precedence over individual interest, citing Section 45(1) of the 1999 Constitution, saying “45 (1) Nothing in Sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society:
a. In the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health or;
b. The purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other person”
He also stated that Section 3 of the National Security Act, which clothes the State Security Services (SSS) with the powers to preserve the internal security of Nigeria is instructive, as it provides a lawful basis for the Federal Government to maintain that the ban of Twitter was pursuant to the security reports of the SSS in this regard.
He added that the rights to Freedom of Expression on the Twitter platform is further qualified by Section 45 of the Constitution in light of the provisions of Section 5(1) and (2) of the Terrorism Act of 2011, which states that anyone who solicits or renders support for a terrorist group commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years.
News continues after this ad
He mentioned that under Nigeria’s Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, Twitter is not licensed to do business in Nigeria, stating that “As it regards the operation of foreign companies in Nigeria, the law provides that a foreign company which fails to take necessary steps to obtain incorporation as a separate entity in Nigeria for that purpose, but until so incorporated, the foreign company shall not carry on business in Nigeria or exercise any powers of a registered company.”
The Minister said the FG has the powers to suspend personal liberty when the interest of the majority is at stake, claiming that Twitter is used in the airing of information that endangers the life and security of the majority of citizens of Nigeria.
News continues after this ad
“The Federal Government of Nigeria is further empowered to take all reasonable steps to defend its cyberspace where it perceives or finds that a Cybercrime, is threatened to be committed, has been committed, or is being committed on and through its cyberspace,” he said.
In case you missed it
Nairametrics reported that The ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja has restrained the Federal Government from imposing sanctions or harassing, intimidating, arresting, or prosecuting Twitter users.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a high-powered delegation to be led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to dialogue with Twitter over the recent ban placed on the microblogging and social networking platform in Nigeria.