By Dirisu Yakubu

 The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, said the directive by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All government to arrest and prosecute any Nigerian using Twitter, is unconstitutional, illegal, null and completely of no effect.

This is as the party asserted that “the directive by the ruling party through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is not only downright ludicrous, “but shows the frenzied desperation by the Buhari Presidency to muzzle, victimize, clamp down on innocent Nigerians and foist a totalitarian system on our country.”

The statement read: “The PDP states that nothing in our extant laws, not even the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, constitutionally criminalized the use of Twitter by Nigerians or empowers the federal governments to arrest and prosecute any Nigerians for using Twitter.   

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“For Malami’s information, section 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that “a person shall not be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and the penalty therefore is prescribed in a written law, and in this subsection, a written law refers to an Act of the National Assembly or a law of a state, any subsidiary legislation or instrument under the provisions of the law.

“President Muhammadu Buhari and his APC are informed that there is no extant law that defined the use of Twitter as a criminal offence and there is no penalty prescribed in a written law for the use of Twitter by any Nigerians.

“Moreover, they should also realize that the suspension of Twitter by the APC-led federal government, in addition to its unconstitutionality, only suspended Twitter operations and not the use of Twitter by Nigerians.

“The directive by the Attorney General to arrest and prosecute any Nigerians found using Twitter, does not have the backing of any law enacted by the National Assembly or any state legislative house, and as such, Malami’s declaration is completely of no legal consequence.

“Malami’s directive to arrest and prosecute Nigerians using Twitter is therefore an attempt to suspend the 1999 Constitution (as amended), a development which bears the imprints of the leaked memo in which Mr. President was reportedly advised to suspend the constitution and strip Nigerians of their rights and freedom.

“The PDP again cautions the Buhari Presidency and the APC to end their acts of suppression against Nigerians as such amounts to pushing the people to the wall.”

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