By Olayinka Ajayi
Renowned rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Femi Falana, has berated the Federal Government for meeting with the management of Twitter on ways of resolving the ban of microblogging sites in Nigeria.
Speaking on a monitored programme on Channels Television, Politics Today, Falana insisted that the federal government ought to have engaged Twitter before the ban.
“The Federal government’s meeting with Twitter is a good development but in many instances, they put the cart before the horse.
“I feel this should have been done earlier. The government protested when it was dissatisfied with certain developments.
“This kind of meeting would have been called much earlier and the embarrassment and inconvenience that Nigerians were subjected to would have been totally avoided. But I think it is a good development that both sides are going to meet,” he said.
Asked the jurisdiction of ECOWAS as a moral compass on the issue, Falana said: “In the 60s and 70s it was convenient for dictators in Africa to plead sovereignty that nobody should interfere with our internal affairs.
“But in these days and times, one countries have submitted part of their sovereignties to international bodies, in this case the ECOWAS.
“Nigeria has ratified the protocols establishing the court as well as the supplementary project. It is, therefore, too late to rush back home and say we are independent, we are a sovereign nation.
“You have already admitted that your activities can be examined by the supernational court like the ECOWAS Court.
“What happened in this case as soon as SERAP filed the case before the ECOWAS court, alleging that the right to freedom of expression of Nigerians has been violated by the suspension of Twitter, the government joined issue, raised serious objection and anchored it in particular on certain provisions of the penal code relating to sedition which is very embarrassing.
“We made it clear to the court that the sedition was unconstitutional.”