The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice has restrained the federal government from unlawfully arresting and prosecuting Twitter users. This was made known in a statement during a preliminary hearing of the lawsuit in Abuja on Tuesday where the court ruled that an interference with Twitter is an interference with human rights. The statement read,
“The court has listened very well to the objection by Nigeria. The court has this to say. Any interference with Twitter is viewed as interference with human rights, and that will violate human rights. Therefore, this court has jurisdiction to hear the case. The court also hereby orders that the application be heard expeditiously. The Nigerian government must take immediate steps to implement the order”.
Following the ban on Twitter in Nigeria in June, two days after the President’s tweet got deleted for violating one of the micro-blogging platform’s rules, a lot of groups and concerned individuals have called on the federal government to rescind its decision on the indefinite ban on Twitter in the country. Notable amongst this is the Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP) Nigeria alongside 176 Nigerians who took the Nigerian Government to the ECOWAS Court following the ban. In a recent tweet reiterating the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice decision on the ban, SERAP stated;
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“The ECOWAS court ruling today means that NO one would be sanctioned, harassed, intimidated, arrested or prosecuted for using Twitter in Nigeria.
The ruling also means that tech companies must immediately restore people’s access to Twitter as a matter of human right”.
Following the statement by the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, many Nigerians are waiting and hopeful that the ban placed on Twitter in the country by the federal government will be lifted soonest.