NIGERIA – Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and hundreds of Nigerians have filed an application before the Federal High Court, Abuja, to counter a suit against Twitter.
The applicants argue the move against Twitter was a plot to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and media freedom in Nigeria.
Adamu Garba, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member, had asked the court to stop the social media platform from operating within the Nigerian cyberspace.
Adamu accused Twitter Chief Executive Officer, Jack Dorsey of funding the End SARS protest he claimed was against the federal government.
His suit – FHC/ABJ/CS/1391/2020 – seeks to compel the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to sanction the tech giant.
SERAP and others said the Nigeria has legal obligations under sections 39 and 40 of the constitution, and articles 9 and 11 of the African Chapter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of everyone to freedom of expression.
They noted that the determination of their suit will impact on the capability to use Twitter to promote transparency and accountability.
The suit filed by Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, accused Garba of infringe of the rights of citizens.
“SERAP and 365 concerned Nigerians seek to be joined as Respondents and to be heard as of right, in line with the Nigerian Constitution and the provisions of Order XIII Rule I of the Fundamental Rights [Enforcement Procedure] Rules 2009. Under paragraph 3(d)(e) of the preamble to the Rules, we are not required or expected to disclose by affidavit any interest in the matter.”
The applicants are also seeking an order directing Garba to provide them with all the originating processes and papers filed, and for such further orders the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
African countries like Burundi and Sudan have in the past shut down social media in waves of repression.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the application.