SERAP urges Buhari to lift conditions on Twitter ban pending ECOWAS verdict


The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has requested President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately lift the conditions imposed on Twitter, pending the outcome of the ECOWAS Court of Justice’s complaint challenging the suspension’s constitutionality.

This, according to SERAP, will allow the court to make a ruling on the case’s core problems while also protecting the plaintiffs’ rights and interests.

In his presentation to commemorate Nigeria’s 61st anniversary of independence, Buhari declared that the federal government would only lift the ban on Twitter in Nigeria if certain conditions were met, including national security considerations.

According to SERAP, the conditions make a mockery of the case pending before the ECOWAS court, and create a risk that the course of justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced in this case.

The letter read in part: “Pushing conditions on Twitter while the ECOWAS case is pending would prejudice the interests of the plaintiffs, undermine the ability of ECOWAS court to do justice in the case, damage public confidence in the court and prejudice the outcome of the case. It is in the public interest to keep the streams of justice clear and pure, and to maintain the authority of the ECOWAS court in the case. If not immediately withdrawn, the conditions would seriously undermine Nigeria’s international human rights obligations including under ECOWAS treaties and protocols and have serious consequences for the public interest.

“Given that the only way in which SERAP and other plaintiffs can have a fair and effective access to justice is to allow the court to decide on the merits of the case before it, fairness and justice must, on the facts of the ECOWAS case, outweigh any stated national security conditions.

“Your government should allow the ECOWAS Court to decide these issues, especially as the federal government has made the arguments on national security before the court. Judgment in the suit is fixed for 20 January, 2022.”