President Buhari, Lai Mohammed face proceedings over Twitter ban

At least two unprejudiced suits were filed against the federal government of Nigeria over its controversial June 4 resolution to suspend accumulate correct of entry to to Twitter within the nation.

The resolution to ban Twitter’s operations in Nigeria came after the social media platform pulled down a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari on grounds that they violated its rules.

Just a few days after restricting residents’ accumulate correct of entry to to Twitter, the Nationwide Broadcasting Rate (NBC) moreover directed all broadcast outfits to “suspend the patronage of Twitter suddenly”, labelling the platform as “unpatriotic”.

The legality of the federal government’s circulate has been widely wondered and stakeholders within the civic condominium beget moved to blueprint back the controversial resolution, which has sparked national outrage and attracted international criticism for weeks.

Civil society organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), on Friday filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja against the Federal Executive and Minister of Records and Culture, Lai Mohammed, spirited the directive to broadcast stations.

In step with SERAP, the directive is  “patently unlawful” and a “pretext to harass, intimidate, suspend or impose legal punishment on journalists and broadcast stations simply for the usage of social media platforms.” No date has been hassle to listen to the suit which modified into as soon as filed closing Friday. 

SERAP is attempting to find “an tell of perpetual injunction restraining the federal government of President Buhari, the NBC, and Mr Lai Muhammed and any varied people from censoring, regulating, licensing and controlling the social media operations and contents by broadcast stations, and activities of social media service providers in Nigeria.”

The NGO moreover requires “an tell setting aside the directive by NBC and Mr Lai Muhammed asking broadcast stations to end the usage of Twitter, as it’s unconstitutional, unlawful, inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Structure of 1999 [as amended], and the nation’s duties under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the World Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

SERAP further argues that the fresh administration has consistently made policies and given directives to crack down on media freedom and the rights of Nigerians to freedom of expression and accumulate correct of entry to to files, and to impose crippling fines and varied sanctions on broadcast stations with none unprejudiced basis in anyway.

“By the usage of the Nationwide Broadcasting Act and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to end broadcast stations from the usage of Twitter with out recourse to the court, the NBC and Mr Lai Muhammed beget contravened the unprejudiced appropriate-looking out to accumulate correct of entry to to justice and unprejudiced appropriate-looking out listening to assured under sections 6[1] & [6][b] and 36[1] of the Nigerian Structure 1999, and articles 1 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” the suit reads.

As well to to the lawsuit in Abuja, the Nigerian government has moreover been sued by SERAP and 176 Nigerians over the Twitter ban within the ECOWAS Court of Justice, as successfully as within the Federal High Court in Lagos by Monday Ubani, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Affiliation Fragment on Public Passion and Pattern Legislation (NBA/SPIDEL).

Local media stores document that Ubani’s suit seeks to overturn the ban on Twitter since it’s unlawful and violates the foremost unprejudiced appropriate-looking out of freedom of expression, freedom to care for opinions, receive and influence tips and records with out interference as assured by the 1999 structure. Respondents within the suit are the Attorney-Long-established of the Federation (AGF), Minister of Records and Culture, and the Nigerian Communications Rate (NCC).

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