Twitter ban: SERAP drags President Buhari to ECOWAS court

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project; and 176 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja over the suspension of microblogging platform, Twitter.

The suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/23/21 was filed on Tuesday by Solicitor to SERAP and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana.

SERAP also argued that the “suspension of Twitter is aimed at intimidating and stopping Nigerians from using Twitter and other social media platforms to assess government policies, expose corruption, and criticize acts of official impunity by the agents of the Federal Government.”

In the suit, SERAP and the concerned Nigerians sought, “An order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and subjecting anyone including media houses, broadcast stations using Twitter in Nigeria, to harassment, intimidation, arrest and criminal prosecution, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

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The Plaintiffs also contended that “if this application is not urgently granted, the Federal Government will continue to arbitrarily suspend Twitter and threaten to impose criminal and other sanctions on Nigerians, telecommunication companies, media houses, broadcast stations and other people using Twitter in Nigeria, the perpetual order sought in this suit might be rendered nugatory”.

Last week, the regime of the President suspended Twitter operations in the country citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

The Buhari regime has since come under fire for what many termed as a restriction of the right of expression. The international community including the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, amongst others have since knocked the Buhari regime for the action but the Federal Government has been unyielding in its stance insisting that the sovereignty of the West African nation must be respected by the tech giant in San Francisco.

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