The ECOWAS court has ordered FG not to prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter
The ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja has barred the federal government from suing Twitter users.
Remember that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has threatened to prosecute individuals who use Virtual Private Networks to circumvent the Federal Government’s ban on Twitter’s operation in Nigeria (VPNs).
All radio and television stations were also instructed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to suspend their Twitter accounts.
Following the ban and threats of prosecution, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians petitioned the ECOWAS Court to overturn the judgment.
After hearing arguments from SERAP’s Solicitor, Femi Falana SAN, and the government’s lawyer, Maimuna Shiru, the court ordered the Federal government to stop harassing, intimidating, arresting, or prosecuting Twitter and/or any other social media service provider(s), media houses, radio and television broadcast stations, the Plaintiffs, and other Nigerians.
The court which noted that 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”, added that it has ” listened very well to the objection by Nigeria.”
The court however said that “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.”