NBA files suit against Buhari, NCC, others over Twitter ban in Lagos Court

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has instituted legal proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari over the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The Association also sued the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Minister of Communications and Culture, Lai Mohammed along with President Buhari and the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/613/202.

According to the Association, “The actions and directives of the respondents gravely infringed the fundamental rights of the applicant (NBA),” the association argued in the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

“No law criminalises the use of Twitter in Nigeria,” the association said.

It added that Mr Buhari and the other respondents “unilaterally, without due process and contrary to the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the applicant, suspended the operations of the microblogging and social media website” in Nigeria.

The association urged the court to rule that the ban on Twitter amounted to “a violent breach of the applicant’s right to freedom of expression and the press, guaranteed under sections 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended 2011), articles 9 of the African Chater on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, 1983 as well as Articles 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.”

It beseeched the court to declare that the threat by the government to prosecute and jail any Nigerian found using the microblogging site within Nigeria’s cyberspace “amounted to a breach of the applicant’s right to a fair hearing and right not to be tried and convicted for an offence not prescribed in the written law.”

It also prayed for an order “setting aside the purported directives/fiat/order “issued by the respondents banning the use of microblogging and social media websites in Nigeria’s cyberspace.” It said.

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