What Nigerian govt told ECOWAS Court about human rights, violations

 The Nigerian government has told the ECOWAS Court that its ban on Twitter does not affect the human rights of Nigerians.


In its preliminary objection to a suit filed by a civil society group, SERAP, and 176 other entities, the Nigerian government argued that banning Twitter had criminalised the operations of the social media platform in Nigeria. 

The government, however, argued that such ban did not violate the freedom of expression of Nigerians.

“The subject matter of the SERAP suit relates to the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. This is not in any way connected to any Nigerian or SERAP. Individual user’s Twitter accounts are not suspended.”

“The right to freedom of expression is completely different from freedom of reach. The suspension of Twitter does not fall under the provisions of arts 8 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” the government argued.

“Twitter as an entity is not an organization of any member state as it is an American microblogging networking service. The suspension of Twitter in Nigeria is not a right recognized under any treaty enforceable by this Court.

“In the unlikely event that this Honourable Court agrees with SERAP that the suspension of Twitter is a fundamental right, the dissolution or liquidation of twitter as a profit-making entity may as well open a floodgate and vest the users the rights of a non-existent right.

“Twitter is a profit-making entity which can be proscribed/dissolved in compliance with any national laws. The compulsory shut down of an entity cannot be termed the breach of any fundamental rights by this Honourable Court.

“The suspension of Twitter in Nigeria is in compliance with the provisions of sections 420, 419 of the Penal Code [Northern Nigeria]; Federal Provisions Act, and section 58 of the Criminal Code Act. The operation of Twitter is in violation of Nigerian domestic legislation.”

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