Human rights defender and founding president of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor has taken Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State to the cleaners over his usage of the Twitter microblogging site.
Eholor, who and other groups had sued the Federal Government of Nigeria for banning the usage of Twitter earlier this year, and the ECOWAS Court sitting in Abuja Nigeria had held that usage of Twitter is an expression of fundamental human rights. That means usage of Twitter is both tied to human right of freedom of speech.
To this end, Chief Eholor and One Love Foundation are alling on Nigerians to come out en masse to support its case which comes up on 20th November 2021 in Abuja.
Eholor in an online communication to Jungle-Journalist.Com, lambasted El Rufai for sneaking into Twitter, which his government banned to use it, while denying other Nigerians the privilege of using it.
He said “Since 2015 that they came to power, the APC government of General Buhari has been whittling down on the basic things that make life simple and easy for Nigerians.
“Every single day, one or two commodities the government control their prices have been increased, forcing traders to also increase their goods and services.
“As if denying us the good life is not enough, there has been calls for placement of restrictions on the free use of the social network by men and women who operate in this wicked government. Finally, they had banned Twitter, and have been trying to pass a bill to make certain activities of Nigerians criminal, just to silence us from crying out.
“But instead of standing by his party’s argument that no Nigerian should use Twitter, a whole Governor is going into hiding to use the same. He said he is abroad. So, everything they have denied us is what they run abroad to go and enjoy-social media, security, foreign foods and goods, the list is endless.
“El Rufai should just hide his face in shame. Nigerians have seen what you all are made of and whatevwr it is stinks to the heavens”, he stated.
Recall that Governor El Rufai surfaced on the microblogging platform, Twitter, on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, despite the ban placed on the app by the Federal Government and Nigerians are not having it.
The Governor whose last tweet was on June 6, a day after the Nigerian government suspended the activities of Twitter, caught the attention of Nigerians when he replied to a fan praising him for his works as the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
Taiwo Ajakaye with the handle, @dmightyangel tweeted, “I really wish we will get more @elrufai in politics. The man left FCT and till date, the Federal Capital Territory has not been able to have another FCT minister that is close to the shoe latchet of El-Rufai in terms of courage, administration, performance & focus, 14 years ago o.”
Responding to the tweet, the Governor wrote, “This is an exaggerated compliment @dmightyangel but thank you for some of the words of encouragement. God Bless our nation. – @elrufai”
In the comment section, @dexybaba asked the governor if he was using a Virtual Private Network, and he replied that he was out of the country, and “can tweet for the time being.”
Also, #EndSARS campaigner, and human rights activist, Rinu Oduala was quick to point out to the governor that “The only place you get the freedom of speech is outside Nigeria,” in the comment section.
Another Twitter user, @ogbuebunu, quoting her tweet, also said, “shamelessness without a pair. Tweeting under the pretence of being outside the country shows moral bankruptcy. One would expect he would stand on a high ground since it was his party that banned Twitter. Well, he is still a Nigerian politician. Zero integrity.”
In response, Governor El-Rufai maintained that Rinu was wrong as “conflating Twitter with ‘freedom of speech’ is a significant exaggeration.”
“Freedoms of many descriptions existed before and without Twitter, and will remain long after!! Enjoy your day,” he said.
Human Rights activist, Aisha Yesufu also called out the Governor for the hypocrisy of using the platform outside the country, while the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), an All Progressive Congress member like himself, had banned the use of Twitter in Nigeria.
“You really should be absolutely and disgustingly ashamed of yourself @elrufai,” she wrote. “You are going outside to enjoy the very basic thing a government you are part of have denied the people. While enjoying Twitter without VPN, you also enjoy the security you have denied your people.”
The Governor has not been exactly compliant with the ban from the past, even while he seemed to show support for the directive.
After his June 6 tweet, an ex-presidential aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, called on the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to prosecute El-Rufai for flouting the Twitter ban.
“Dear @MalamiSAN, @elrufai tweeted this 20 minutes ago in violation of your #TwitterBan. If you do not start your arrest and prosecution with him, then you must admit that you are a failure and a man who does not keep to his word,” he tweeted.
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