The Socio-Economic Rights and Responsibility Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for “the illegal suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.”
The applicants are against the criminalization of Nigerians using Twitter and the increasing repression of human rights, the rights to freedom of expression, access to information and freedom of the media.
The government has threatened to arrest and prosecute anyone who uses Twitter, while the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) asked all broadcasting stations to suspend use of the social media platform.
Application No. ECW / CCJ / APP / 23/21 was filed today with the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja.
“A provisional injunction order preventing the federal government from implementing its Twitter suspension in Nigeria and subjecting anyone, including the media, broadcast stations using Twitter in Nigeria, to harassment, intimidation , arrest and criminal prosecution, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive claim ”.
In the lawsuit filed by the attorney before SERAP, Femi Falana (SAN), the plaintiffs argued that if the request is not dealt with urgently, the federal authorities will continue to arbitrarily suspend Twitter.
The lawsuit read in part: “The suspension of Twitter is intended to prevent Nigerians from using Twitter and other social media platforms to evaluate government policies, expose corruption and criticize acts of official Impunity.
“This implies a free press and other media capable of commenting on public issues without censorship or restrictions, and informing public opinion. The public also has the corresponding right to receive the results of the media.
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and full enjoyment is essential to achieve individual freedom and develop democracy. Not only is it the cornerstone of democracy, it is indispensable for a prosperous civil society. ”