The ECOWAS Court of Justice has served hearing notice on the Buhari government in the suit filed by the Socio-economic Rights Action Project (SERAP) and 176 Nigerians on the unlawful suspension of Twitter.
According to SERAP, the suit is fixed for June 22, 2021 for the hearing of application for interim orders. “Having been duly served, President Buhari should immediately rescind the suspension of Twitter, pending the hearing of the application, for the sake of the integrity and sanctity of the court, the rule of law, and Nigeria’s leadership role in the ECOWAS sub-region”, SERAP added in the update on the case.
The case was filed last week to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s ban on the micro-blogging social media platform.
Nigeria’s leading human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana is representing the 177 plaintiffs. They sued Buhari for “criminalisation of Nigerians and other people using Twitter, and the escalating repression of human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.”
In the suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/23/21 filed June 8 before the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja, SERAP and the concerned Nigerians are seeking: “An order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. The 177 Nigerians also seek a stay order on government from 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.”
In the suit, the Plaintiffs contend 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.”