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    ECOWAS court hears Twitter ban suit Tuesday as Nigerians berate FG

    Some Nigerians have berated the Federal Government as the ban on the micro-blogging site, Twitter, enters the 30th day today (Monday).

    The Federal Government had on June 5 suspended Twitter operations in the country.

    The suspension was announced two days after the platform deleted tweets of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), saying they violated its rules.

    Despite the suspension, many Nigerians have been using Virtual Private Networks to access the micro-blogging site, forcing the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to threaten them with prosecution.

    Some groups, including the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, dragged the government before the ECOWAS court, which restrained it from arresting Nigerians using the site.

    Speaking with The PUNCH, a Twitter user, Goodness Adeosun, berated the Federal Government for allowing the ban to last this long.

    She said the ban had affected her business.

    Adeosun stated, “These moments are the lowest point for me in business; the ban has really affected my sales turnover.

    “I had been selling on Twitter for the past three years and I didn’t focus on other platforms, because Twitter was offering what I wanted in terms of visibility and potential customers, and no one ever thought of the ban ever happening.

    “I remain optimistic that the ban will be lifted soon.”

    A journalist, Blessing Oladunjoye, said she joined in the suit, because the ban violated the freedom of expression of Nigerians and had affected journalists sourcing information.

    She said, “I joined some journalist colleagues and NGOs to file a suit at the ECOWAS Court against the Federal Government over the indefinite suspension of Twitter, because the government’s action is a violation of the right to freedom of expression and has greatly interfered with our works as media professionals; sourcing information, getting sources for reports, promoting stories, networking with fellow citizens and colleagues, both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, and accessing media related opportunities.

    “SERAP and some Nigerians also filed a similar suit at the ECOWAS Court and the court has already given an interim ruling, which restrained the Nigerian government from prosecuting people for using Twitter. This is a good start and the ruling makes it clear that the court believes that interfering with people’s use of and access to Twitter is a violation of their human rights, but the ban still needs to be reversed by the Federal Government.”

    The Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, faulted the ban, adding that the group and others had taken the government to the ECOWAS Court, which ruled that no Nigerian should be arrested.

    He added that the main case challenging the legality of the government’s action was slated for hearing on Tuesday.

    Copyright PUNCH.

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