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Government Has No Right to Regulate Freedom of Expression, Says House Minority Caucus

The minority caucus in Nigeria’s House of Representatives has said that the Federal Government has no right to regulate freedom of expression, especially in a democracy.

The caucus in a statement by its Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, said that freedom of speech and opinion by Nigerians, including expressing such through social media tools like Twitter, are clearly guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and cannot be subjected to partisan approval or regulation under a democratic rule.

The lawmakers said the APC government should rather be apologising to Nigerians for infringing on their rights as well as for the huge economic losses recorded as a result of the ban.

The Caucus insists that instead of seeking to suppress free speech, the APC government should be open to the views of Nigerians and make adjustments for the good of the nation.

The caucus said, “That is why at the wake of the ban on the use of Twitter in Nigeria in June 2021, the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives forcefully condemned the decision as provocative, obnoxious and unjustifiable clampdown on the rights of Nigerians which also showed the APC government’s intolerance and aversion to the views, opinions and aspirations of Nigerian citizens, especially the youths, on matters of state.

“It was also in the light of that that the Minority Caucus in the National Assembly stood by the law and charged Nigerians to continue using Twitter irrespective of the unconstitutional ban, since they would not be contravening any known law in Nigeria or any international statutes.”

“Our caucus holds that the declaration of a lift on the ban on Twitter amounts to regulatory approval on freedom of speech, which is completely unknown to our laws. Our Caucus commends Nigerians for their resilience, innovations and resistance to suppression by the APC government and assures that the Caucus will never relent in fighting for the rights of the people at all times.”

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Copyright 2022 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to  www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.

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