The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has complained that it is totally outside its regulatory mandate to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who continue to use Twitter application in the country, despite the temporary suspension by the Federal government.
“The NCC is a regulator. It is not within our power to arrest or prosecute. We limited ourselves based on the order given to us by the government, which was to instruct the operators to disconnect, which was what we did. So, the other aspects are not within our purview,” the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had in a statement on Saturday directed the Director of Public Prosecution to liaise with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the NCC and other relevant government agencies to prosecute Nigerians who continue to use using Twitter application despite the suspension.
But NCC said it is not within the power of the commission to arrest or prosecute.
The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), last week, received a directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator, asking its member to block access to Twitter.
In the statement signed by Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman and Gbolahan Awonuga, Executive Secretary of ALTON, after a robust assessment of the request in accordance with internationally accepted principles and based on national interest provisions in the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and within the license terms under which the industry operates, its members have acted in compliance with the directives of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator.
ALTON added that it will continue to engage the relevant authorities and stakeholders and will act as may be further directed by the NCC.
The Federal government had last week ordered the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria after the social media platform deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, which it considered a violation of its rules.