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SERAP charges Nigerian govt to revoke ‘impermissible conditions on Twitter’ pending final suit

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In the wake of President Muhammadu Buhari’s reiteration about the ban on Twitter services in his Independence Day speech pending compliance with some pre-agreed conditions, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged a withdrawal of the mandate.

This was contained in an open letter dated October 2, 2021, and signed by the SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

According to SERAP, President Buhari should “urgently withdraw the impermissible conditions imposed on Twitter pending the final determination of the suit at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja challenging the legality of the suspension of Twitter, to allow the court to render a decision on the central issues in the case, and protect the plaintiffs’ rights and interests.”

The organization 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.

READ ALSO: Nigerian govt to lift Twitter ban in ‘few days’ – Lai Mohammed

“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.”

It further slammed how the imposition of such stringent conditions on Twitter would grossly undermine the rights and interests of the plaintiffs in the ECOWAS Court case filed against the Federal Government.

“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 If not immediately withdrawn, the conditions would seriously undermine Nigeria’s international human rights obligations including under ECOWAS treaties and protocols, and have serious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.

“Given that the only way in which SERAP and other plaintiffs can have fair and effective access to justice is to allow the court to decide on the merits of the case before it, fairness and justice must, on the facts of the ECOWAS case, outweigh any stated national security conditions.

“SERAP, therefore, urges you to urgently withdraw the conditions imposed on Twitter and to allow the ECOWAS court to 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,” the letter to President Buhari read.

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