Defamation: Lawyer Files N10 Billion Suit Against Twitter, DSS

A lawyer named Maxwell Opara has sued Twitter and the Department of State Services (DSS) for defamation and is requesting N10 billion in damages.

Malachy Nwaekpe filed a summons at the FCT High Court with the writ of summons marked: FCT/HC/CV/7186/23, and Opara named Twitter Nigeria Limited and the Director-General (DG) of the State Security Service as the first and second defendants.

In the lawsuit dated August 11 and filed on August 14, the State Security Service, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), and the Minister of Justice are each identified as the third and fourth defendants.

In response to the DSS’s claim that Twitter, now known as X, “negligently allowed the defamatory, ethnic profiling, and racist comments” against him, the attorney filed a lawsuit against Twitter.

Opara, who alleged that the post was caused to be published and made viral to millions of readers, described the message as “false, defamatory, demeaning, disparaging and harmful.”

He, therefore, sought eight reliefs which include “an order of this honourable court directing the 2nd and 3rd defendants (DG and DSS), jointly and severally, to issue a letter of apology on the 1st defendant’s platform twitter and a daily newspaper widely read across the federation of Nigeria.”

He sought an order of court directing the defendants to, jointly and severally, pay to the claimant the sum of N10 billion as general damages for the various defamatory, demeaning, disparaging and harmful words of the 3rd defendant under the leadership of the 2nd defendant which words were published and caused to be made viral by the 1st defendant in its twitter platform.

“An award of 10 per cent post judgment interest per annum on the entire judgment sum from the date of judgment till same is fully liquidated,” he added.

The matter was yet to be assigned to a judgment at the time of the report.

The reports that in the tweet, the DSS was quoted as having written the following, “Charge and bail, overzealous uninformed IPOB/ESN lawyer Maxwell Okpara mobilises other like minded lawyers against DGSS.

“Futile Efforts. Well, Nigerians, beware! This is in bad faith. Transferred aggression.

“A Biafran republic agitator and outlawed IPOB counsel defending the suspended CBN governor.

“Is IPOB defending one of theirs? What a contradiction, what’s the connection, may Maxwell be properly educated on points of law, please.”