Human rights lawyer and leader of the Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond ( ASCAB), Femi Falana, says rather than heap the blame of Nnamdi Kanu on Nigerians, the federal government should make moves to arrest him.
Kanu, the separatist leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is known for inciting statements on social media. The Federal Government also cited the IPOB leader tweets as part of the reason it banned the activities of the social media giant, Twitter.
Twitter had earlier deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s controversial tweet on civil war for violating its rules, an action the government claimed to undermine ‘Nigeria’s corporate existence’.
Nigerians have continued to make use of the app, bypassing Internet restrictions placed by the telecommunications operators. However, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has ordered the prosecution of anyone violating the ban.
In his reaction while appearing on African Independence Television (AIT) on Monday, Falana lambasted the federal government, insisting that the ban on the microblogging platform was not well thought through.
The human rights lawyer, when asked about the excuse of the federal government citing the inciting tweets of Kanu, said the ban was not justified.
“This government enjoyed the goodwill of Nigerians. Before it came into power, it promised to end insecurity and fight corruption to a standstill. If one by one these problems have not been solved or had been compounded, they thus have a duty and a right under the law to tell the government “You are not getting it right”.
“If you are talking of a nihilist or nihilist organisations or frustrated young people trying to pour out inventives on government and many of us publicly and privately criticised the gentleman you mentioned now, Nnamdi Kanu. But what is the duty of the government?”
“This young man is hiding in another country…Why are you allowing this? Now you are now blaming Nigerians for demanding their rights to access information.”
According to Falana, citizens can only complain about Kanu’s dangerous tweets and cannot go beyond that.
“You were trying him, he escaped from the country. He jumped bail. What steps have you taken? Have you lodged proceedings in the United Kingdom to have him brought back here?” the human rights lawyer queried.
He also explained that the late Chief Anthony Enahoro, who was standing trial for treason able felony, brought back from the United Kingdom.
“So, why do you blame us (in profound respect) for inefficiency on the part of the government. And i think this is the issue.”
He also suggested ways the government could have handled it concerns against Twitter instead of the controversial ban. “Twitter can be sued to court if it doesn’t appreciate that the security of Nigeria should not be threatened. And that is if the organisation has threatened the security of the country,” Falana said.