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Thursday, June 20, 2024

ECOWAS Court says Buhari’s ban on Twitter was unlawful

ECOWAS Court says Buhari’s ban on Twitter was unlawful

The ECOWAS Court, Thursday, “found unlawful the suspension of Twitter by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and ordered the administration never to repeat same.

This was as a result of a lawsuit filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 Nigerians.

Kolawole Oluwadare, the SERAP deputy director, announced this development, Thursday.

The suspension of Twitter in Nigeria was declared by the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet was removed.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) urged all broadcast stations to stop using Twitter while the government also threatened to detain and prosecute anyone found using Twitter in the nation.

However, the ECOWAS court ruled that the case was admissible and that it had the authority to hear it.

Additionally, the court ruled that Twitter’s operation being suspended violates both Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, both of which Nigeria is a state party.

The court said, “The Buhari administration in suspending the operations of Twitter violates the rights of SERAP and 176 concerned Nigerians to the enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and the media, as well as the right to fair hearing.”

The Court also ordered the Buhari administration to take necessary steps to align its policies and other measures to give effect to the rights and freedoms and to guarantee a non-repetition of the unlawful ban of Twitter.

The court also ordered the Buhari administration to bear the costs of the proceedings and directed the Deputy Chief Registrar to assess the costs accordingly.

Reacting to the judgment, Femi Falana, SERAP’s lawyer in the suit said, “We commend the ECOWAS Court for the landmark judgment in the case of SERAP v Federal Republic of Nigeria in which the judges unanimously upheld the human rights of community citizens to freedom of expression, and access to information.”

 

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