Sunday, September 26, 2021

Group Sues Telecoms Operators over Twitter Suspension in Nigeria

A group of organizations, EIE Nigeria, Paradigm Initiative (PIN) and Media Rights Agenda (MRA), has filed a joint suit against telecommunications operators in Nigeria, over twitter suspension Nigeria.

The federal government had in June this year, suspended the operations of Twitter, a micro blogging site, for deleting the tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari, which he sent to address the agitators of South-east extraction.
Nigerians had since reacted to the suspension order and had called on the federal government to reverse the suspension, but the suspension has not been lifted till date.


The group, in a statement, said: “Following the suspension of twitter in Nigeria in June 2021, it was evident that the government did not have the sole responsibility of the disregard for human rights. A directive not rooted in law cannot be a basis for the abuse of the human rights of millions of Nigerians. It is to this effect that EIE Nigeria as the sole applicant coordinating with other organisations including Paradigm Initiative and Media Rights Agenda, have instituted a class action suit against telecommunications companies such as MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile for an enforcement of fundamental rights.”

The suit calls for a declaration that the respondents blockage of twitter access was unlawful, unconstitutional and against the rights to freedom of expression and an injunction restraining all respondents from restraining blocking or interfering with Twitter and any other social media platform. These are all pursuant to rights assured by the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights, the group insisted.

President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesina Sodiya, had earlier said Nigerian government might have taken the extreme decision based on cursory analysis of the implications. He however said NCS was convinced very strongly that the negative effect of Twitter’s suspension outweighed the gains in Nigeria. He described the negative effects as indeed alarming and huge, and listed them to include: Job losses, unemployment, economics woes and recession, youth restlessness and banditry, insecurity and terrorism, brain drain, loss of ideas and creativity.

He however said Twitter should realise that having a dominant share of 200 million people from Nigeria, comes with a lot of caution and decorum.

Sodiya said government should also have a legal framework to register and regulate tech giants and institute a deterrent punitive measures like fines and the likes instead of suspension or outright ban. He promised that NCS would continue to work with government in promoting ethical and professional use of information technology in Nigeria.

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