Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has berated President Muhammadu Buhari over what it described as impermissible conditions imposed on Twitter.
The organisation which filed a suit at ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja challenging the legality of the suspension of Twitter, has therefore urged the President to soften his stance pending the final determination of the suit.
It further rapped the Nigerian leader to allow court render a decision on the central issues in the case, and protect the plaintiffs’ rights and interests.”
Addressing the Nigerians on the nation’s attainment of 61 years of independence, the federal government hinted that it would only lift the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria if certain conditions, including concerns around national security, were met.
But in an open letter dated 2 October 2021 and signed by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The conditions imposed on Twitter while the ECOWAS case is pending constitute an interference with the right of SERAP and other plaintiffs to fairly and effectively pursue a judicial challenge to the decision by your government to suspend Twitter in Nigeria.
“The conditions make a mockery of the case pending before the ECOWAS court, and create a risk that the course of justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced in this case. Protecting the right to a judicial recourse and due administration of justice is of utmost importance, being the cornerstone of an ordered society.”
“Imposing impermissible conditions on Twitter would undermine the rights and interests of the Plaintiffs in the ECOWAS Court case filed against your government, as the conditions directly touch on the central issues of freedom of expression and access to information, which the court is set to determine and rule upon,” it further said.
“Pushing conditions on Twitter while the ECOWAS case is pending would prejudice the interests of the Plaintiffs, undermine the ability of ECOWAS court to do justice in the case, damage public confidence in the court, and prejudice the outcome of the case.
“It is in the public interest to keep the streams of justice clear and pure, and to maintain the authority of the ECOWAS court in the case. If not immediately withdrawn, the conditions would seriously undermine Nigeria’s international human rights obligations including under ECOWAS treaties and protocols, and have serious consequences for the public interest,” SERAP stated.
It therefore urged “the federal government to as a matter of urgency, withdraw the conditions imposed on Twitter, and allow the ECOWAS court decide on the suit brought by SERAP and other plaintiffs challenging the legality of the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. Judgment in the suit is fixed for 20 January, 2022.”