Thursday, December 9, 2021

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‘Twitter is a profit-making entity that can be proscribed’ – FG objects to ECOWAS Court ruling

The Nigerian government has filed a preliminary objection against the ruling of the ECOWAS Court of Justice on the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.

According to the filing, FG argued that the ‘subject matter of the suit is not for the enforcement of any human rights recognised by the court’.

On Tuesday, the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, in its ruling, prohibited the Nigerian government from prosecuting or arresting anyone for using Twitter in Nigeria.

The suit was filed by the SERAP and 176 other Nigerians against the Nigerian government in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice over the indefinite suspension of Twitter in the country.

A few hours to the hearing of the suit, the Buhari administration filed and served a preliminary objection, claiming that “The subject matter of this suit is not for the enforcement of any human right recognised by this Court.”

The federal government based its argument on the motion that the suspension of Twitter does not fall under the provisions of article 8 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights hence it is not within the jurisdiction of the court.

It also argued that Twitter is not an organisation or member state of the ECOWAS.

As a profit-making entity, the Nigerian government noted that Twitter can be dissolved in compliance with national laws citing certain provisions of the Penal Code, the Federal Provisions Act, and the Criminal Code.

However, this preliminary objection by the Nigerian government was dismissed by the ECOWAS Court.

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