Nigerian pastors risk jail for using Twitter, Buhari administration says

Prominent Nigerian pastors, including Pastor Adeboye and William Kumuyi, may be jailed for using Twitter, according to President Buhari's administration. The social media platform was blocked on June 4th, two days after it removed one of the president's tweets for a rule violation. Yet, that did not stop Nigerian tweeps, Adeboye and Kumuyi included, from bypassing the ban with VPNs. In response, Nigeria's attorney general Abubakar Malami announced that he had ordered the prosecution of those defying the shutdown of Twitter. However, he scored an own goal when he posted a screenshot showing he logged in to Twitter with a VPN to deactivate his account. Adeboye called the use of Twitter 'a human right' while defending his continued use of the website. “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", Adeboye tweeted. In the same vein, Kumuyi said his tweets are "targeted at a global audience in more than five continents". Bishop Oyedepo, in contrast, has not tweeted since June 6th. While there is no specific law in the constitution prohibiting the use of social media, Malami's spokesman told Premium Times that Nigerians 'will know the law they are violating when they get to court'. It is unclear whether Malami would also order the arrest of Kaduna state governor, Nasir El Rufai, who retweeted an opinion piece from Russian state-owned RT after internet service providers blocked access to the platform. When asked whether Adeboye and Kumuyi would be arrested, information minister, Lai Mohammed, told the BBC that the attorney-general would 'decide who or who not to prosecute'. Plans to protest on June 12th are currently underway, according to human rights activist Omoyele Sowore.

John Paul

John Paul is a senior editor at HotNaija. twitter

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