Human Rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong has dragged the federal government, attorney general of the federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami and Information Minister, Lai Mohammed to court over the indefinite suspension of Twitter, a U.S based social media giant.
In the originating summon, Mr Effiong, in suit no: FHC/L/542/2021, sought nine reliefs including an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further suspending, deactivating or banning the operation & accessibility of Twitter or any other social media service in Nigeria.
He asked the court to declare as illegal the threat of criminal prosecution issued by Malami and Lai Mohammed against those who ‘violate’ the ban on Twitter, despite the absence of any written law enabling such prosecution.
He also asked the court to declare that the act of the respondents in “suspending the operation and accessibility of Twitter in Nigeria without any written law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society enabling the said suspension is unconstitutional, unjustifiable, undemocratic, arbitrary, null and void and amounts to a violation of the right of the applicant and other Nigerians to use Twitter for expression, reception of information and impartation of ideas and is therefore contrary to Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9 L.F.N. 2004. Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
The activist said the decision of the respondents to suspend Twitter have gravely infringed on his freedom of expression and that of broadcast stations and other Nigerian citizens who depend and rely daily on Twitter for information, expression and impartation of ideas.
“This has caused me emotional trauma and distress and limited my capacity to connect with the global community,” he added.