from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA – NIGERIA has been slapped with a lawsuit for its suspension of the social networking site, Twitter.
Five non-governmental organizations and four journalists have filed the legal challenge at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice in Abuja.
They are asking the court to declare the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria as a violation of their human rights under international law.
The journalists and NGOs want the court to order the Nigerian government to immediately rescind the suspension order and compensate them for the violation of their rights.
The NGO applicants in the suit are Media Rights Agenda, Paradigm Initiative, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, the International Press Centre, and Tap Initiative for Citizens Development.
Journalists David Hundeyin, Mr. Samuel Ogundipe, Ms Blessing Oladunjoye, and Nwakamri Zakari Apollo are challenging the ban.
Mojirayo Ogunlana Nkanga, the Abuja-based human rights and free expression lawyer, filed on their behalf.
They claim Nigeria’s ongoing suspension of Twitter, which came into effect on or around June 4, violated their right to freedom of expression and interfered with the ability of the journalists to do their work.
The suit is litigated with the support of Media Defence, a London-based NGO, which provides legal assistance to journalists, citizen journalists and independent media.
The suspension of Twitter came after the site removed a post by President Muhammadu Buhari for violating its rules.
Buhari’s tweet referred to the 1967-70 Nigerian civil war.
The warning that “those misbehaving today” would be responded to in “the language they will understand” was a warning to perpetrators of the violence accompanying protests for the secession of the southern parts of the country.
– CAJ News