The ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja has on Tuesday declared that the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria is unlawful and have escalated repression of human rights and restricted the rights of Nigerians and other people to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.
DAILY GIST had reported that the Federal Government ordered all Telecoms to block Nigerians from accessing Twitter.
This action has left many Nigerians with no other choice but to engage the services VPN providers as an alternative option to access Twitter and other social media networks.
Although the federal government has set up committe to meet Twitter authority over the possible reversal of the suspension.
Recall that the office of Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation had threatened to prosecute those using Twitter after the announcement of the suspension.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) also ordered all radio and television stations to deactivate their twitter accounts.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians had challenged the action of the government.
In its ruling on Tuesday, the court restrained the government and its agents from “unlawfully imposing sanctions or doing anything whatsoever to harass, intimidate, arrest or prosecute Twitter and/or any other social media service provider(s), media houses, radio and television broadcast stations, the Plaintiffs and other Nigerians who are Twitter users, pending the hearing and determination of this suit.”
“The unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, criminalization of Nigerians and other people using Twitter have escalated repression of human rights and unlawfully restricted the rights of Nigerians and other people to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.”
The court gave the order after hearing arguments from Solicitor to SERAP, Femi Falana SAN, and lawyer to the government, Maimuna Shiru.
The court said: “The court has listened very well to the objection by Nigeria. The court has this to say. Any interference with Twitter is viewed as inference with human rights, and that will violate human rights. Therefore, this court has jurisdiction to hear the case. The court also hereby orders that the application be heard expeditiously. The Nigerian government must take immediate steps to implement the order.”