ECOWAS Court Fixes Date For Suit Challenging Buhari Regime Ban On Twitter

August 6, 2021
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The ECOWAS court has set October 25, 2021 as the date for hearing a case challenging the validity of Nigeria’s government’s ban on Twitter’s operation in the country.

The complaint was brought by Citizens Gavel in partnership with the Paradigm Initiative for Information Technology Development (PIN).

PIN Anglophone West Africa’s Program Officer, Khadijah El-Usman, announced this in a statement on Friday.

The federal government, including Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, as well as the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

PIN is seeking four reliefs, including a ruling that President Buhari’s regime’s suspension of Twitter activities in Nigeria is a violation of free speech.

Mr Malami’s warning to prosecute entities that teach or assist citizens in staying connected to Twitter via circumvention techniques or otherwise be prosecuted, according to the organization, violates Section 36 (8) and (12) of the 1999 Constitution.

It also asked the court to issue a perpetual injunction prohibiting the government and its allies from restricting access to the Micro-blogging site or taking any measure that would deter Nigerians from using it.

PIN has requested the court to stop Mr Buhari’s dictatorship from arresting, prosecuting, detaining, or punishing organizations and persons who help Nigerians stay connected on Twitter.

Nigeria’s communications minister, Lai Mohammed, declared in June that Twitter will be suspended indefinitely in the country because it was being used to promote false information and “actions that threaten Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

Attorney-General Abubakar Malami threatened to arrest and punish everyone who tweets in Nigeria in order to implement the prohibition. Nigerians have started downloading VPNs and other browsers with built-in protocols that conceal their location to get around the ban, which came without recourse to any existing law.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) also ordered that broadcasting stations stop patronizing Twitter and de-install their handles immediately.

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