Lawyer commends Nigeria government decision to license social media operators

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By Akpan David, Calabar

A legal practitioner and public analyst, Chief Utum Eteng has welcomed the decision of the federal government to licence all social media and possibly regulate their operations in Nigeria.

In a statement issued in Calabar, Eteng said the Federal Government should be applauded.

It will be recalled that before the Federal Government took the above steps after it banned Twitter on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 because it allegedly deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.

On the other hand, Twitter reportedly argued that President Buhari’s tweet violated its “non abusive behavior policy” and a sanction of a 12hour suspension of such Twitter account was imposed.

Similarly, Facebook reportedly followed by also deleting the President’s statement on Facebook alleging that it violated it community standard against inciting violence.

Eteng said therefore that the coordinated reactions against the Federal Government by these two private platforms were not coincidental but premeditated.

Eteng said that the intents and purposes of the two platforms were to spite and or to embarrass the Nigerian Government, insisting that such should not be treated lightly.

The lawyer said that the Federal Government’s decision which via a statement by the Special Assistant to the President (Media) office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi which also directed the National Broadcasting Corperation (NBC) to forthwith commence the process of licensing all TTC and Social Media operator in Nigeria, is a measure to safeguard the security of the country.

He said: “The volatile security nature in Nigeria today needs positive steps to regulate the use of social media platforms.

“It will contain the abuses and sensational content of the information sent out to the public.”

He maintained that “if such private platforms could through the use of it domestic rules sanction a sovereign nation from its use, because as claimed, it violates it internal rules, why would a nation whose citizens under the cover of IPOB use the same medium to threaten the state without sanctioned.

“In view of the insecurity in the land, it would be wrong, preposterous and indeed very strange for anyone to suggest that the ban on twitter by the Federal Government “is a petulant gesture unbecoming of a democratically elected President”, nor would it pass for a draconian slide towards fascism.

” It is by no means a dent in Nigerian constitutional democracy as some may want others to believe.

“Before a final position is taken, it is pertinent to find answers to the question whether or not Nigeria as a Sovereign Nation guided by constitution is bound to conduct it state affairs guided by directives of an external independent business outfit like Twitter/social media platforms and also whether the 1999 constitution in its Human Rights provisions provided no guide to or exceptions in enforcing the freedoms bin the Constitution.

Commending Buhari, Eteng said the temporary ban of twitter is permissive and not illegal, vexatious and taken in the interest of the Nigerian.

He called on the authorities to, as a mark of seriousness, direct the NCC to effect the suspension order on all telecommunication operators like MTN, AIRTEL, GLO and others to implement the government suspension order on twitter.

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