The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed says that the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church Of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, will be prosecuted, alongside others, for defying the ban placed on Twitter operations in Nigeria.
It would be recalls that the Federal Government had suspended Twitter operations indefinitely in Nigeria on Friday, June 4, 2021.
Lai Mohammed said the government was forced to act because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporatee existence”.
Reacting to the ban on Monday, Pastor Adeboye said defied the Twitter ban, saying that tweeting is in accordance with Article 19 of the UN universal declaration of human rights.
“The Redeemed Christian Church of God is domiciled in more than 170 Nations & Territories. The tweets here are in accordance to Article 19 of the UN universal declaration of Human Rights,” Pastor Adeboye tweeted.
During an interview with BBC Africa Focus on Monday, Lai Mohammed said Malami will ensure that Pastor Adeboye and others who went against the Twitter ban will be prosecuted.
The minister stated this when asked if Pastor Adeboye will be prosecuted for using Twitter, despite justifying his insistence on using the platform with Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Article 19 of the UDHR states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Mohammed emphasised in the interview that the persistent use of Twitter in Nigeria is undermining the country’s corporate existence.
“The government has suspended indefinitely, the operations of Twitter in Nigeria because of the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence and the government.
“Also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to immediately commence the process of licencing all social media operations in Nigeria,” Mohammed said.
The minister said Malami is in charge and has the final say on who or not to prosecute.
“The attorney-general has made it clear that if anyone violates the regulation, that such person will be prosecuted. I think it is the right of the attorney-general to decide who to prosecute,” he said.
Similarly, the general overseer of Deeper Life Bible Church, Williams Kumuyi, said the mission’s tweets were targeted at its global audience spread across five continents and over 100 nations.
“In view of the Twitter ban in Nigeria, please note that the content shared on this handle is targeted at a global audience in more than five continents and over 100 Nations and we share the content from any of these locations,” Mr Kumuyi said.
Oyo governor Seyi Makinde condemned the ban and used the banned platforms nonetheless just as Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai also tweeted via his handle hours after government’s proclamation.
The suspension comes just two days after Twitter deleted President Buhari’s tweet which threatened to deal with “pro-Biafran secessionist” in “the language they will understand”.
Twitter said the offensive tweet violated the social media company’s abusive behavior policy, leading to a 12-hour suspension of President Buhari’s account.
Meanwhile, the federal government has said the operations of Twitter in Nigeria will be restored only when “responsible communication” can be assured on the platform.