Twitter Ban: Ubani sues FG, asks court to nullify directive to prosecute offenders

The Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, NBA/SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Ubani, has sued the Federal Government over the ban on Twitter.

 

In the suit filed before the Federal High Court, Lagos, Ubani is seeking amongst other things, a declaration that the ban on Twitter is unlawful and violates the fundamental right of freedom of expression, freedom to hold opinions, receive and impact ideas and information without interference as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution.

 

Joined in the fundamental human right enforcement suit as 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents are the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Information and Culture and the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

Ubani prayers before the court includes, “A declaration that the indefinite suspension of Twitter by the 1st Respondent without an order of a competent court of jurisdiction is unlawful and violates the fundamental right of the Applicant to freedom of expression, freedom to hold opinions and receive and impact ideas and information without interference  as guaranteed by section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Article 9(1) and (2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

“A declaration that the instruction given to the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, by the 4th Respondent to stop Nigerians (including the Applicant) from getting access to Twitter violates the fundamental right of the Applicant to freedom of expression, freedom to hold opinions and receive and impact ideas and information without interference  as guaranteed by section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Article 9(1) and (2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

“A declaration  that the directive given to the security operatives and the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPP) by the 3rd Respondent to arrest and immediately prosecute users of Twitter in Nigeria (including the Applicant) infringes on the fundamental right of the Applicant to freedom of expression, freedom to hold opinions and receive and impact ideas and information without interference  as guaranteed by section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Article 9(1) and (2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, and a gross violation of Section 36(12) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which forbids any act or omission to be referred to as a crime unless a written law says so.

“An order setting aside the indefinite suspension, ban, sanction or other punishment whatsoever imposed on twitter, the Applicant and other Nigerians and any social media service provider by the Respondents and their agents.

“An order directing the 1st Respondent to immediately revoke, withdraw and/or rescind their suspension or ban of Twitter or any other social media service providers in Nigeria as same violates sections 39(1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Article 9(1) and (2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

“An order directing the 4th Respondent to immediately revoke, withdraw and/or rescind the formal instruction given to ALTON to suspend access to Twitter in Nigeria as same violates sections 39(1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Article 9(1) and (2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents and their agents from unlawfully imposing sanctions and other punishment, including criminal prosecution or doing anything whatsoever to harass, the Applicant, Nigerians, Twitter and any social media service provider in Nigeria.”

No date has been fixed for hearing of the matter.

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