The Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami has told the ECOWAS Court that having Twitter on one’s phone in Nigeria is a direct contravening of the penal code applicable to Northern Nigeria.
Mr. Malami and his team of defence lawyers from the Ministry of Justice insisted that having the mobile application installed on one’s device also constitutes the possession of seditious articles under the Penal Code.
They were at the ECOWAS Court responding to a suit challenging the Buhari regime’s crackdown on Nigerians using the micro-blogging platform.
“Furthermore, it is apt to note that the possible prosecution of violator(s) does not only lie against the use and operation of Twitter in Nigeria, a careful examination of section 419 of the Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act shows that the installation of Twitter App alone could suffice as an offence under the section, that is the offence of possession seditious articles,” the court document said.
It is not clear why the Federal Government used that as defence, if that law they cited only applies to Northern Nigeria. It is clear such a law is a Sharia law.
The Federal Government outlines four offences actionable under the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria. The offences include inciting disaffection to the government, exciting hatred between classes, possession of seditious articles, and importation of prohibited publications.
The consolidated lawsuit before the regional court was filed by a coalition of activists and media houses, including Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and Peoples Gazette, challenging the banning of Twitter’s operations in the country. The court has adjourned till January 2022 for ruling.
Source: Twitter| People’s Gazette