The ECOWAS court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday ruled that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration should not stop anyone from using Twitter until the final suit is determined by the court.
The court barred the federal government and its agents from intimidating, sanctioning, arresting, or prosecuting anyone for using Twitter in Nigeria, pending the final determination of the suit.
It will be recalled after the operation of Twitter were suspended in Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, also threatened to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who were using Virtual Private Network to bypass the suspension of Twitter.
But the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), instituted a suit before the ECOWAS court, arguing that the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria is unlawful and an infringement of fundamental human rights.
The ECOWAS court on Tuesday, ruled in their favour.
SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said in a statement that the ECOWAS court has stopped the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and its agents from “unlawfully imposing sanctions or doing anything whatsoever to harass, intimidate, arrest or prosecute Twitter or any other social media service provider, media houses, radio, television broadcast stations, the plaintiffs and other Nigerians who are Twitter users, pending the hearing and determination of this suit.”
The court gave the order after hearing arguments from SERAP’s lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), and Maimuna Shiru who represented the government.
The substantive suit has been adjourned till July 6, 2021, for hearing, Naija News reports.
The ECOWAS court further stated, “The court has listened very well to the objection by Nigeria. The court has this to say. Any interference with Twitter is viewed as interference with human rights, and that will violate human rights. Therefore, this court has jurisdiction to hear the case. The court also hereby orders that the application be heard expeditiously. The Nigerian government must take immediate steps to implement the order.”
In a piece of related news, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the composition of the Federal Government’s Team to engage with Twitter over the recent suspension of the organization’s operations in Nigeria.
The approval was announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, through a statement signed by Segun Adeyemi his media aide.
The Minister will chair the team.
The Federal Government’s team also comprises the Attorney General of the Federation and Honourable Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, as well as other relevant
Naija News recalls that Twitter had deleted President Buhari’s tweet wherein he spoke about the civil war experience.
The President threatened to deal with those bent on destroying Nigeria through insurrection.
Source: Naija News