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ECOWAS Court Declares Federal Government Twitter Ban Unlawful

The ECOWAS Court has declared the suspension of Twitter unlawful and cautioned the Nigerian government against a repeat.

SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare announced the victory after the court sitting on Wednesday.

Following the deletion of President Buhari’s tweet in 2021, the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed announced the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.

The government threatened to arrest and prosecute users, while the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) asked all broadcast stations to stop citing Twitter as a news source.

In the judgment, the court declared that it has the jurisdiction to hear the case and that the case was therefore admissible.

The court held that the suspension of Twitter is unlawful 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.

The court said the government’s action violates 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 fair hearing.”

The court ordered the Buhari administration to take necessary steps to align its policies and other measures to give effect to the rights and freedoms and to guarantee a non-repetition of the unlawful ban.

The court further directed the Buhari administration to bear the costs of the proceedings and directed the Deputy Chief Registrar to supervise.

 

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