Popular constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has added his voice to the growing list of Nigerians who strongly condemn the Federal Government over its decision to suspend the operations of global microblogging site, Twitter, in Nigeria.
While speaking as a phone-in guest on Channels TV on Wednesday as monitored by RovingNaija, Falana described the Federal Government’s action as self-help and added that under the Constitution of the country, the government is precluded from resorting to self-help.
“We are not in a totalitarian regime…therefore, no government is permitted to resort to self-help.
“Ideally, the government should have sued Twitter if the organisation has refused to respond positively to the concerns raised pertaining to Nnamdi Kanu’s tweets or any other matter of interest,” he said.
He noted that the unilateral decision by the FG to ban Twitter is not well thought out especially when weighed against the impact on business users and other individuals in the country.
“On no grounds can the action of government be justified because we are talking about 40 m subscribers to Twitter who have been denied their means of livelihood and business sustenance.
“Government has denied Nigerians access to information. ..The government should not take the law into its hands,” he admonished.
He appealed to government to be circumspect when matters of this nature arise.
“The president should have gone into dialogue with the youths. This has been done before. For instance, in the case of the Niger delta militants, some Nigerians from different walks were brought together to speak with the militants before the amnesty programme came into existence.
“Therefore, government should never criminalise agitations for self-determination.
“The govt must move swiftly to address the conditions that led to the situations we are currently witnessing in the country.
“The government should not throw the baby away with the bath water,” he said.
Mr. Falana said he has gone to court to challenge the action of the Federal Government as a law abiding citizen of the country.
“I have approached the ECOWAS courts yesterday… since Nigerian courts have shut down. We will challenge this in the courts.
“Dissent is allowed in a constitutional democracy and we should be ready to go to the courts if we feel that our rights have been infringed on,” he said.
Meanwhile, SERAP and 176 Nigerians have filed a suit in court over the suspension of twitter operations in Nigeria.