Twitter Ban: Nigerian Government Goofed - RIFA

A release on June 4, 2021 by the Special Assistant to the Minister of
Information and Culture; Segun Adeyemi on the Federal Government of
Nigeria (FGN) announcing suspension of twitter operation indefinitely
in Nigeria is nothing but a joke taken too far.

When Section 22 of 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) provides “The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people”, does the FGN understand the implications?

Even though many perfidious citizens have neglected the Constitutional provision in Section 24 which says “It shall be the duty of every citizen to –
(a) abide by this Constitution, respect its ideals and its institutions, the National Flag, the National Anthem, the National Pledge, and legitimate authorities”, is there any difference between the government action and those the government proclaimed have abused the medium?

Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) received with shock government
draconian ban like it did impose two-week SIM card registration in
December 2020 whereby RIFA opined that at least 6months notice should
be given. Today, that reality and foresight of RIFA is what the government has really found inevitable.

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Similarly, the ban on twitter should be immediately reversed. If few perfidious citizens misuse the medium, is that a justification to deny the lawful million users from using same when government failed to prosecute the twitter abusers?

Whose fault was it that twitter was misused in Nigeria? The government
has wherewithal to control the media but instead decided to just waste the nation resources on useless personnel managing agencies and ministries in charge of such roles.

If some people use twitter to fuel insecurity, what were the government agencies such as National Orientation Agency (NOA), Ministry of Information, etc whose sleeping staff still collect
salaries from government purse doing to convince the populace of government actions?

One would have expected a Minister to use different media to tell Nigerians what the government was doing to
quench the insecurity in the land but our Minister of Information is so docile that he has abandoned the role he played while an opposition spokesperson. With the leadership lapses of NOA, the agency has
outlived its usefulness and should be disbanded.

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The current Minister of Information too; Lai Mohammed is of no relevance again in information management of Nigeria and so should be replaced with a dutiful citizen.

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The nation insecurity is an indictment on the Nation security apparatus which have failed woefully in their responsibilities. With the spate of the insecurity in the land, what is the essence of having Police, Civil defence, Department of State Service, Intelligence Agency, Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Immigration, Road Safety Corps, Custom officers (who have turned to official killers), Armed forces etc on which the federal government spends billions of Naira every month?

Nearly all security agencies have abandoned their basic roles and majority of them are criminals having divided loyalty to their warlords who got them the job and the nation security leadership has not been able to exert adequate pressure on their men. Majority of our security operatives nowadays are criminals and when complaints are lodged to their bosses, they ignore such complaints.

Why then shall we not be enmeshed in insecurity when our security personnel are also criminals? The recent revelations in Nasarawa State, Akwa Ibom and other states where the criminals caught were security men questioned the integrity of those being paid to provide security which the
government has failed to flush out the bad eggs among the uniform men.

The government of President Muhammadu Buhari truly needs action but the action is simple-be pragmatic to issues with sturdy warning and
actions. The Police headquarters should provide an active communication platforms to the populace to lodge complaints and such
complaints should be promptly attended to while erring officers should
be publicly paraded before the media.

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This would greatly reduce the indiscipline among officers. This should be extended to other security agencies too. The current attitude to Police to public complaints is pro-criminals.

The disbanded SARS officers (especially those at Obasanjo farm in Igbo-ora, Oyo State) who have maneuvered themselves to the SWAT again and returned to their former base of oppression should be checked as they are more criminals than the criminals they are to suppress.

Most police officers on the road have turned to toll collectors against the laws of the land while majority of them has no name tags and numbers yet allowed to rob citizens on the road. Why should citizens be condemned for emulating the paid criminals in uniforms?

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The spokespersons of most Police formations too are not helpful or
different as they always defend the officers’ criminality perhaps they share from the loot of their crimes. Such kinds of spokesperson too deserve redeployment as they are liabilities to the Force image they were engaged to manage.

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Could you believe a Police PRO saying citizens do not have right to record Police oppression? How would complainants be able to justify the allegations against the odd officers then when same spokesperson once said one should be able to provide evidence against any officer misbehaving?

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The new Inspector-General of Police; Usman Alkali who has just been
confirmed today needs to retrace his men steps and give workable
directions. Similarly, the FGN should not oppress the citizens by blocking them from expressing their views on national issues.

What the government needs to do is to identify those instigating violence, arrest them and prosecute them. When this is done regularly, those who specialize in false information and instigation would think twice before returning to their business.

The western world also allows
press freedom and as well, no irresponsible, treacherous and malicious messages are allowed without being censored. Therefore, RIFA demand immediate revocation of twitter suspension while government should put its personnel on their toes to justify amount being spent on them.


Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) President, Luqman SoliuLuqman Soliu
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)