Twitter suspension: Users prosecution unknown to law, says lawyer
Dr Kayode Ajulo, a legal practitioner, has said that the planned prosecution of users of the suspended twitter microblogging platform by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami, is unknown to the county’s laws.
Ajulo, also a Constitution Lawyer, stated this on Sunday, while speaking newsmen in Abuja.
He said that the statement from the AGF should have been directed at those who abused social media and not all twitter users, stressing that having carefully studied Nigeria’s various penal laws, nowhere was a citizen of the country prohibited from receiving or disseminating information.
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This, according to him, was as a right guaranteed under Section 39 of the Constitution.
He said that relevant laws must be put in place to check any abuse of the social media, as it was the only way offenders could be prosecuted, adding that section 36 (12) of the constitution forbade the prosecution of anyone for an offence not known to law.
Without prejudice to the rationale for the ban of the blogging site, Ajulo said it must be noted that Nigeria’s democracy was a constitutional democracy based on the rule of law.
“Where the rule of law reigns, political expediency ought to be sacrificed on the altar of the rule of law, so as to guarantee the continued existence of democratic institutions.
According to him, this was fashioned to promote social values of liberty, orderly conduct and development, especially given the fact that the constitution of a nation remained “the fons et origo”, not only of the jurisprudence but also of the nation’s legal system.
He added that the constitution remained the beginning and the end of the legal system, the alpha and the omega and the barometer with which Government actions were measured.
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Ajulo said: “I am weary to believe that the statement credited to the Honourable Attorney General is, with respect, inchoate as the position of law is clear and unambiguous.
”Whatever directive issued for the prosecution of violators of the ban on the twitter blog in Nigeria, runs contrary to the Letters and the spirit of the Constitution”.
The AGF had, in a June 5 statement, said that the Federal Government would prosecute twitter users, after the suspension of the site.
By Femi Ogunshola