LAGOS – A nongovernmental organization, The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project have gone ahead to challenge the decision of the Federal Government and the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed to ban Twitter at the Federal High Court in Abuja over the directive to all broadcast stations in the country to suspend the use of Twitter.
Nigeria’s media regulatory agency, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had given the directive following the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the Federal Government over alleged use of the platform for activities the government said were capable of breaking Nigeria.
SERAP, in the suit filed on its behalf of by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare, Kehinde Oyewumi and Opeyemi Owolabi, the NGO urged the court to stop the Federal Government and Mohammed from using “their patently unlawful directive to all TV and radio stations not to use Twitter, and to delete their accounts as a pretext to harass, intimidate, suspend or impose criminal punishment on journalists and broadcast stations simply for using social media platforms.”
According to THE PUNCH, the NGO, in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/496/2021, sought an order restraining the government of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the NBC, and Mohammed and any other persons from censoring, regulating, licensing and controlling the social media operations and contents by broadcast stations, and activities of social media service providers in Nigeria.
SERAP also sought “an order setting aside the directive by NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed asking broadcast stations to stop using Twitter, as it is unconstitutional, unlawful…”
The group argued that the present administration had consistently made policies and given directives to “crack down on media freedom, and the rights of Nigerians to freedom of expression and access to information, and to impose crippling fines and other sanctions on broadcast stations without any legal basis.”
“A declaration that the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed lacked the power and authority to unlawfully impose penalties such as fines and other sanctions on any journalists and broadcast stations for using Twitter and refusing or failing to deactivate their Twitter handles.”
Recall on June 4, following the announcement of the ban of Twitter, SERAP had said it would go ahead to sue the Federal Government in Court.
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