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BREAKING: ECOWAS Court Describes the Suspension of Twitter in Nigeria Unlawful.

BREAKING: ECOWAS Court Describes the Suspension of Twitter in Nigeria Unlawful.

After a suit by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project -SERAP and 176 concerned Nigerians, the ECOWAS Court has “declared unlawful the suspension of Twitter by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and ordered the administration never to repeat the act.”

This development was revealed today by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare. It would be remembered that following the removal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed announced the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. 

The government also gave threats to arrest and prosecute anyone using the microblogging platform in the country, while the National Broadcasting Commission -NBC asked all broadcast stations to suspend the usage of Twitter. But in the judgment delivered today, the ECOWAS court announced that it has the jurisdiction to hear the case and that the case was therefore admissible.

The Court also held that the act of suspending the operation of Twitter was against the law and inconsistent with the provisions of Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights both of which the country is a state party.

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According to the Court, “The Muhammadu Buhari administration is suspending the operations of Twitter violated 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 a fair hearing.”

Reacting to the judgment, Femi Falana, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria -SAN, SERAP lawyer in the suit stated, “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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