23.7 C
Abuja

Twitter ban: CSOs, journalists sue Nigerian government at ECOWAS court

Related

2mins read

FIVE civil society organisations (CSOs) and four journalists have filed a suit against the Nigerian government at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja over the suspension of the operations of microblogging platform, Twitter, in the country.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare the action taken by the Nigerian government as a violation of their human rights under the international law.

They are also asking the court to order the government to immediately reverse the suspension and compensate them for the violation of their rights.

The CSOs involved in the suit are Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Paradigm Initiative (PIN), Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), the International Press Centre (IPC), and Tap Initiative for Citizens Development (TICD). The journalists are David Hundeyin, Samuel Ogundipe, Blessing Oladunjoye, and Nwakamri Zakari Apollo.

The suit numbered ECW/CCJ/APP/29/21 ECW/CCJ/APP/29/21 was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by an Abuja-based human rights and free expression lawyer,  Mojirayo Ogunlana Nkanga, under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Revised ECOWAS Treaty, and the Nigerian Constitution, among others.

The plaintiffs, in their originating summons, said the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria on June 4 violated their right to freedom of expression and interfered with the ability of the journalists to do their work.

The CSOs and journalists also told the court that freedom of expression was being stifled in Nigeria.

- Advertisement -

They further argued that Nigeria, having consented to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression under the ICCPR and the ACHPR, any limitation imposed by the government on the right to freedom of expression could only be justifiable where the restriction was provided by law, served a legitimate aim, and was necessary and proportionate in a democratic society.

Contending that these three conditions must be met before any restriction on the right to freedom of expression could be considered legitimate, they noted that the suspension of Twitter was not provided by law, adding that there was no justification for it under Nigeria’s domestic laws and that it was done by the government in an arbitrary manner in circumstances where there was no public or judicial oversight, transparency or accountability.

The CSOs and journalists are asking the court to declare the indefinite suspension of Twitter a continuous violation of their human rights under the international law, particularly the right to seek and receive information as well as the right to express and disseminate opinions, as provided  under Article 9(1) and (2) of the African Charter; Article 19(2) of the ICCPR and the rights of journalists under Article 66(2)(c) of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty.

They are also seeking a declaration that the government’s directive, through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), for the deactivation of Twitter accounts in Nigeria violated their human rights under the international law and that the threat by the attorney-general of the federation to prosecute anybody found to be using Twitter in Nigeria following the suspension of the platform also violated their rights.

The CSOs and the journalists urged the court to issue orders mandating the Nigerian government to immediately take all necessary measures to reverse the suspension and guarantee that the same violation would not occur again in future.

They also asked the government to issue adequate reparations, including restitution, compensation and measures of satisfaction to be specified and submitted to the court.

The court was also asked to issue an order of injunction restraining the government, its servants and agents from imposing criminal sanctions on individuals, including the applicants, using Twitter or any other social media service provider.

- Advertisement -

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

The suit is supported by Media Defence, a London-based civil society organisation which provides legal assistance to journalists, citizen journalists and the independent media.

Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

Advertisement

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support the ICIR

We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

Recent

How women group constructs road in Abuja community to ease movement

By Ekpali SAINT AT about 5:30 p.m. on  Friday of May 2019, Khadijat Yunusa was...

Centre decries spike in cholera outbreak, tasks FG on urgent solutions

THE Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Development Awareness (CESDA), on Tuesday, asked the Federal...

#EndSARS: Falana says son will protest on Wednesday

  RENOWNED lawyer and human rights activist Femi Falana has said that his son will...

Controversy trails suspension of two Zamfara lawmakers over ties with banditry

LAST Tuesday, the Zamfara State House of Assembly suspended two of its lawmakers Yusuf...

With N3,500, Sokoto residents buy locally-made guns, as insecurity spikes in Nigeria’s Northwest

By Abiodun JAMIU ABUBAKAR Sanusi, 22, still trembles. He is also at a loss for...
Advertisement

Most Read

Advertisement

Subscribe to our newsletter

Advertisement