The ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja has restrained the federal government from unlawfully imposing sanctions on violators of its order suspending operations of Twitter.
The restraining order include harassing , intimidating , arresting or prosecuting Twitter and/or any other social media service provider(s) for using Twitter pending the hearing of a suit brought before it.
Some Nigerians aggrieved over the suspension including Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians had filed the suit.
But before the court set it down for hearing brought an application asking for interim injunction to stop federal government from arresting violators.
The court gave the order after hearing SERAP’s lawyers Femi Falana (SAN),and federal government lawyer Maimuna Shiru .
Federal government’s lawyer objected to the hearing of the application and insisted that ECOWAS community Court of Justice lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.
In its ruling the court said it “has listened very well to the objection by Nigeria.
“The court has this to say. Any interference with Twitter is viewed as inference with human rights, and that will violate human rights. Therefore, this court has jurisdiction to hear the case.”
” The court hereby orders that the application be heard expeditiously. The Nigerian government must take immediate steps to implement the order,” it stated.
Reacting to the ruling, Femi Falana (SAN) said: “The intervention of the ECOWAS Court is a timely relief for millions of Nigerians using Twitter”
It is also a relief to Nigerians “who have been threatened with prosecution under the provision of the Penal Code relating to sedition,” he said.
The substantive suit has been adjourned to July 6th 2021 for hearing .