Twitter Ban: SERAP Sues Buhari, Lai Mohammed Over Non-Disclosure Of Agreement Terms

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to publish a copy of the agreement the Federal Government recently signed with Twitter, Inc, and the failure to publish the details of the terms and conditions of any such agreement.

Joined in the suit as Respondent is Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture.

The Federal Government had in January lifted the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria, stating that, “Twitter has agreed to act with a respectful acknowledgment of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history.”

But in the suit filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP asked the court to “direct and compel President Buhari and Alhaji Lai Mohammed to release and widely publish a copy of the agreement with Twitter, and the terms and conditions of any such agreement.”

In the suit, SERAP argued that “It is in the interest of justice to grant this application. Publishing the agreement would enable Nigerians to scrutinise it, seek legal remedies as appropriate, and ensure that the conditions for lifting the suspension of Twitter are not used as pretexts to suppress legitimate discourse.”

It added that publishing the agreement with Twitter would promote transparency, accountability, and help to mitigate threats to Nigerians’ rights online, as well as any interference with online privacy and freedom of expression.

According to SERAP, any agreement with social media companies must meet the constitutional requirements of legality, necessity, proportionality and legitimacy.

It stated that secretly agreed terms and conditions would fail the fundamental requirements.

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