In the wake of an application by the Nigerian government, the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja has adjourned judgment for a suit instituted by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on the Twitter ban to February 16, 2022.
The suit was earlier fixed for Monday January 31, 2022 but had now been rescheduled for a later date.
The President Muhammadu Buhari administration had filed an application asking the ECOWAS court to strike out SERAP’s suit.
SERAP confirmed the application on Thursday, saying the government had argued that the suit was no longer necessary, considering the fact that the ban on Twitter had been lifted.
However, the civic group said it would file a response for the court to dismiss the application by the Nigerian government as the hearing comes up next Monday.
The tweet reads, “The Buhari administration has just filed an application asking the ECOWAS court to strike out our suit on Twitter ban, saying that the ban has been lifted.
“The suit is fixed for judgment on Monday. We’re filing a response ASAP for the court to dismiss the application.
“The Federal government is arguing among others that, “the judgment will constitute no practical utilitarian value to SERAP and others [since the ban has been lifted]. The court of law does not engage in academic exercise.”
“The determination of the suit by the Court will amount to an exercise in futility and devoid of purpose. It will be merely academic and theoretical as the subject-matter of the suit–suspension of Twitter is no more in existence.”
Recall that in June 2021, SERAP and 176 concerned Nigerians filed a suit against the Federal Government over the suspension of Twitter in the country.
In the suit filed before the ECOWAS Court, SERAP was represented by human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, as well as Oluwadare Kolawole and Opeyemi Owolabi.
SERAP was the applicant while the Federal Republic of Nigeria was the respondent. The case was heard before Justice Gberi-Be Ouattara, Justice Keikura Bangura, and Justice Januaria Moreira Costa.
The group filed the lawsuit against the Nigerian government over, “the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, criminalisation of Nigerians and other people using Twitter, and the escalating repression of human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.”
Following the deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.
In the suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/23/21 filed before the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja, SERAP and the concerned Nigerians are seeking an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.