SERAP files lawsuit against Prez after failing to publish agreement with Twitter

The SERAP(Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has filed a case against President Muhammadu Buhari over her failure to publish the terms and conditions of the agreement, which has national authority recently signed with Twitter Inc. before imposing the ban on the micro-blogging and social networking service in Nigeria.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, joined the suit as a respondent.

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In January, the national government had raised the suspension of the Twitter operation in Nigeria, stating, “Twitter has agreed to act following Nigerian laws, as well as national culture and history.”

However, in the lawsuit, FHC/L/CS/238/2022, filed last Friday on February 11 at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP requested that the court direct and compel Buhari and Mohammed to release and widely publicise a copy of the agreement with Twitter, as well as the terms and situations of any such agreement.

In the case, SERAP claimed that it was in the interest of justice to provide an application, saying publishing the agreement would enable Nigerians to scrutinise it, demanding legal remedies as appropriate and ensure that the conditions for suspending Twitter were not used as pretexts to suppress legitimate discourse.

SERAP noted that the minister responded to its freedom of information request but said his response was wholly unsatisfactory, as he stated that the details were in the public domain rather than sending a copy of the agreement as requested.

“Nigerians are authorised to their human rights, such as the rights to liberty of presentation, access to data, solitude, peaceful assembly and association, as well as public participation both offline and online,” according to the suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi.

“The agreement’s operation and enforcement may be based on broadly worded restrictive laws, which may be used as pretexts to suppress legitimate discourse, interfere with online privacy, and discourage the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression.”

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