#EndSARS: SERAP, 365 Nigerians want court to reject ‘Suit on Twitter shut down’

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 365 concerned Nigerians have filed an application before the Federal High Court, Abuja, asking the court to “reject a suit by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress [APC], which seeks to shut down Twitter, prevent it from operating within the Nigerian cyberspace, and ultimately restrict the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and media freedom in the country.”

SERAP and 365 concerned Nigerians are asking the court “for leave to be joined in the suit as parties, and to be heard as of right, as provided for under the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 [as amended], the Fundamental Rights [Enforcement Procedure] Rules, 2009, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

Following endorsement by Twitter Chief Executive Officer, Jack Dorsey of the #EndSARS campaign last month, a former Presidential aspirant of the APC, Adamu Garba, filed a suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1391/2020 seeking to compel the Nigerian Communications Commission [NCC] to stop the operation of Twitter International Company in Nigeria. But in the application filed last Friday, SERAP and 365 concerned Nigerians stated: “This application is brought in the public interest. It is important to grant the reliefs being sought, for the sake of justice, and the fundamental rights of people to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and media freedom, and as millions of Nigerians will be affected by any orders that the court may make in this suit.”

According to the suit, “The Nigerian government has legal obligations under sections 39 and 40 of the Nigerian Constitution, and articles 9 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights of everyone to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and media freedom.” SERAP and 365 concerned Nigerians are arguing that “The determination of this suit will impact our capability to use Twitter social media platform to carry out our work to promote transparency and accountability, and respect for socio-economic rights of Nigerians, as well as seriously undermine people’s fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and media freedom.”

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