Buhari, Lai Mohammed sued over failure to publish Nigeria, Twitter agreement

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued President Muhammadu Buhari for the failure to publish the Federal Government of Nigeria’s agreement with Twitter.

Joined in the suit as Respondent is Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture who announced the ban on Twitter in June 2021.

The organization noted that Mohammed replied to its freedom of information request but the response was “completely unsatisfactory, as he merely stated that the details are in the public space”.

Nigeria lifted the suspension in January, stating that the social media platform “agreed to act with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history”.

In suit FHC/L/CS/238/2022 filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP is asking the court to compel Buhari and Mohammed to make the details public.

The rights group said this would enable Nigerians scrutinise it, seek legal remedies and ensure that the conditions are not used as pretexts to suppress the people.

SERAP is also arguing that the disclosure would promote transparency, accountability, help to mitigate threats to the rights of Nigerians online and interference with online privacy and freedom of expression.

The suit filed by Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi insists Nigerians are entitled to their human rights, peaceful assembly and association, public participation on and off the internet.

“The operation and enforcement of the agreement may be based on broadly worded restrictive laws, which may be used as pretexts to suppress legitimate discourse.

“Any agreement with social media companies must meet the constitutional requirements of legality, necessity, proportionality and legitimacy.

“Secretly agreed terms and conditions will fail these fundamental requirements”, the suit read in part.

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