Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Adedayo Adeoye (retd.), has given reasons why the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), should drop plans to prosecute RCCG’s Pastor Adeboye.
Recall that Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, had announced an indefinite suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.
The federal government had accused the social media site of engaging in activities that would undermine the nation’s existence.
In a bid to enforce the ban on Twitter, Malami threatened to arrest and prosecute anyone who tweets in Nigeria, as many use VPN to bypass the blockage.
The RCCG’s Pastor Enoch Adeboye had justified his insistence on using the platform with Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Article 19 of the UDHR states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Aside from Adeboye, the founder of Deeper Life Church, W.F. Kumuyi has also insisted that his church would not respect the federal government’s ban on Twitter because its Twitter handle reaches a global audience.
Reacting, Lai Mohammed insisted that the federal government would prosecute offenders no may who such person is.
Speaking to The PUNCH on Tuesday, Adeoye said the suspension of Twitter has made the platform to be more popular as more Nigerians have now gotten to know of it.
According to him, followers of Adeboye and Kumuyi would make the prosecution of the two clerics impossible as many legal luminaries would be ready to defend the clerics.
He said, “It is unnecessary. How many people will the government prosecute? The government can’t prosecute anybody and win.
“These are men of God, they cannot use it against the government, they use it to propagate the gospel. So, we should leave them and allow them to continue.
“If the government goes ahead to prosecute them (Adeboye and Kumuyi), their followers may react, and they are expected to react. Thousands of people will follow them to court and the court will have problem in accommodating them. The judge and magistrate will then hide himself or herself somewhere. The government should be quiet on the matter and allow it to die a natural death.”
He said the decision to suspend Twitter was “ill-conceived because many things ought to have been taken into consideration before banning such an information platform. The reactions of the people, and the international community including the United States, United Kingdom, European Union speak volume”.
The former police boss stressed, “I am not in support of anyone using Twitter to harm the government. I am not in support of that, the government should report to Twitter to better regulate the platform which I think Twitter has started doing. Twitter recently pulled down one or two tweets by (leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi) Kanu.”