SERAP & 365 concerned Nigerians have filed an application before the Federal High Court, Abuja, asking the court to reject a suit by a chieftain of 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.
They 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,& the African Charter.
Following endorsement by Twitter Chief Executive Officer, @jack of the #EndSARS campaign last month, Adamu Garba, filed a suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1391/2020 seeking to compel the Nigerian Communications Commission [NCC] to stop operation of Twitter International Company in Nigeria
According to SERAP, “This application is brought in the public interest. It is important to grant the reliefs being sought, for the sake of justice, & 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.
“The Nigerian govt has legal obligations under sections 39 and 40 of the Nigerian Constitution, and articles 9 and 11 of the African Chapter to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of everyone to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association and media freedom.
“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.
“SERAP and 365 concerned Nigerians have shown sufficient legal interest to warrant the granting of this application, as this will serve the interest of fair hearing, guaranteed by section 36 of the Nigerian Constitution, and natural justice rule of audi alteram partem meaning that in any dispute the court must hear the other side.
“SERAP, 365 concerned Nigerians and other Twitter users will be grossly affected if the orders being sought by Mr Garba are granted by the court, as his suit is seeking to undermine the constitutionally & internationally recognized rights of people to freedom of expression peaceful assembly, and media freedom.
“SERAP and 365 concerned Nigerians seek to be joined as Respondents and to be heard as of right, in line with the Nigerian Constitution and the provisions of Order XIII Rule I of the Fundamental Rights [Enforcement Procedure] Rules 2009”.