Regarding the Nigeria Twitter ban, the Economic Community of West African States’ court, which has the duty of resolving issues connected to the interpretation of the community’s treaty, protocols, and conventions, has ruled that the seven-month ban on Twitter imposed by the Nigerian government was illegal.
Following a lawsuit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 “concerned Nigerians,” this ruling was widely publicized in the Nigerian media. In order to push the government and others to address developmental and human rights issues like corruption, poverty, inequality, and discrimination, SERAP wants to employ human rights law.
According to the ECOWAS Court’s decision, “the suspension of Twitter by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was deemed unlawful and the administration was told never to repeat it.”
History: Nigeria Twitter ban
On June 4, 2021, the social media giant was blocked in Nigeria after the platform took down a tweet by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish separatists in the region.
According to the ECOWAS court, Twitter’s activity being suspended violates both Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights—to which Nigeria is a party—and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The statement read: “The Buhari administration breaches the rights of SERAP and 176 concerned Nigerians to the enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and the media, as well as the right to a fair hearing by halting Twitter’s operations.”
The court also commended the Buhari administration to ensure that the illegal Twitter ban won’t happen again by aligning its policies and other actions with these rights and freedoms. The expense of the proceedings must be covered by the administration as well.
This can be considered a tiny victory for Twitter, which has faced criticism in a number of nations. Another concern is whether it will prompt governments in nations like Russia and India to reconsider their policies.