The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami on Thursday insisted that the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria was informed by the need to protect the national interest.
Malami stated that the interest of Nigeria is paramount in all considerations and must be respected by any company that wants to do business in the country.
The minister spoke at a meeting in Abuja with the High Commissioner of Great Britain, Ms. Catriona Laing.
The duo discussed bilateral issues relating to asset recovery, anti-corruption crusade, amendment of the Electoral Act, the Audit Bill, Petroleum Industry Bill, Twitter ban and counter-terrorism approaches.
Malami’s spokesman, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, in a statement, quoted the minister as saying: “If you want to operate as a business entity in Nigeria, you must do so within the context of Nigerian laws. Nothing offensive or that breaches the Nigerian laws should be entertained.”
Malami said the federal government had established a committee on the matter and the company had approached the government over the issue.
On PIB, the minister said steps had been taken to ensure pending bills were transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
According to him, the fundamental interest and objective of the Buhari administration is to leverage on the bills to enhance value in terms of creating enabling environment for investment, protecting the public interest for the maximum benefit all.
Malami said the essence of the amendment of the Electoral Act was to enhance the democratic system by addressing delays in judicial determination of pre-election matters as well as ensuring justice and fairness in the conduct of electoral processes, including party primaries.
He said to strengthen the fight against corruption, the government came up with the Proceeds of Crime Bill and Audit Bill, among others.
Malami said public interest had been the uppermost consideration in the quest by the federal government for the regulation of freedom of expression, adding that restrictions to freedom of expression are locally and internationally recognised.
“Our government is not averse to freedom. Freedom is not borderless. Freedom of expression must not be used in such a manner that incites citizens to violence or calls for an overthrow of a democratically elected government. There are bounds to freedom within the laws,” he added.
Laing thanked the minister for the “clarification” of the issues, saying that the steps taken in the fight against corruption and electoral reforms are “really encouraging.”