The Nigeria Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, has threatened that popular religious leaders in Nigeria will be prosecuted over their insistence on defiling the Twitter ban.
There has been outcry in the country when the federal government announced the ban over a spat between the government and the tech giant.
The micro-blogging site deleted the Nigerian president tweet, claiming it ran contrary to its policy on responsible use of social media.
Among those who insisted that their activities would not be affected by the ban were Pastor Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Kumuyi of Deeper Christian Life Ministry and Pastor Johnson Suleman of Omega Fire Ministries International.
Pastor Adeboye wrote, “The Redeemed Christian Church of God is domiciled in more than 170 nations and territories. The tweets here are in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Kumuyi, while also tweeting, said, “In view of the Twitter ban in Nigeria, please note that the content shared on this handle is targeted at a global audience in more than five continents and over 100 nations and we share the content from any of these locations.”
Checks showed that the Senior Pastor of the Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, Pastor Sam Adeyemi; the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries International, Apostle Suleman, have also continued to tweet despite the ban.
Suleman, on his part, has been consistently tweeting and retweeting posts and events.His last two posts on Monday were birthday greetings of a junior pastor and his daughter, respectively.
However, Lai said that he had the assurance of the Attorney General of the federation that these religious leaders will be prosecuted. He said this in an interview with BBC Africa Focus on Monday.
Mohammed emphasised in the interview said that the persistent use of Twitter in Nigeria is undermining the country’s corporate existence.
“The government has suspended indefinitely, the operations of Twitter in Nigeria because of the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence and the government
“Also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to immediately commence the process of licencing all social media operations in Nigeria.
“The attorney-general has made it clear that if anyone violates the regulation, that such person will be prosecuted. I think it is the right of the attorney-general to decide who to prosecute,” he said.
Nigerians have, however, continued to react to what they tagged as ‘confusionist regime’.
A popular Twitter user wrote:
Because everyone in Buhari’s Govt is a dumb ass, anyone can just wake up, make a pronouncement and it becomes Law. How can Malami/Lai Mohammed announce suspension of twitter in Nigeria and then demand that both Govt and private entities stop using twitter without legal backing?