The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has made a volte-face over his threat to prosecute Nigerians who make use of Twitter despite the Federal government suspension of the microblogging site.
Malami made this clarification via an interview with Vanguard on Thursday, June 10.
The AGF said his office will not be prosecuting Nigerians residing in or out of the country who are making use of the platform but will go after any company or entity that offers to help Twitter bypass the suspension of its operations in the country.
It is within the right of Nigerians as citizens of a democratic country to make use of Twitter but the Federal government is only against those who help Twitter beat the suspension, Malami noted.
He said, “It is within their guaranteed fundamental right to tweet from anywhere in the world. Nigeria, being a democratic nation, cannot stop its citizens from exercising their rights of freedom of expression.
“But our position on Twitter is clear: Anyone, whether individual or corporate institution that enables Twitter to circumvent the ban the Federal Government of Nigeria placed on the company, will be prosecuted.
“Our statement outlining our position on June 1, 2021, did not ask the DPP to prosecute Nigerians; using Twitter or any social media platform to express their view. But we are going to use the legal instruments at our disposal to go after those who aid; and abet Twitter to continue to threaten our corporate existence as a nation.
“At no time did we threaten any religious leader for using Twitter to express themselves. Neither did we indicate in any way that we were going after them. But mischief-makers were quick to mention names of religious leaders; and give the impression that we were already in court to try them.
Malami further said that the Buhari-led administration against popular opinion is a people-centric government that enables human rights; hence Nigerians have committed no offence by tweeting.
It must however be said that the recent statement of the Attorney-General is a sharp contrast to his earlier threat; made barely 24 hours after the ban was announced by Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.