Law group sues Nigerian government for failing to publish settlement on Twitter

Deepak Gupta February 13, 2022
Updated 2022/02/13 at 5:16 PM

A legal rights group has sued Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to force his government to publish the settlement that allowed Twitter last month after a . In June 2021, Nigeria suspended Twitter after the company removed a tweet by President Buhari that threatened to punish local dissidents. At the time, Twitter for the country’s actions, noting that it considered the open internet as “an essential human right in modern society”.

On January 13, Nigeria lifted the ban after the company agreed, among other conditions, to open a local office and work with the government to develop a code of conduct. On Sunday, the Socioeconomic Project Rights and Responsibility (SERAP) with the country’s Supreme Court to compel President Buhari and Information Minister Lai Mohammed to publish a copy of that agreement.

“Publication of the agreement with Twitter would promote transparency, accountability and help mitigate threats to the rights of Nigerians online, as well as any interference with online privacy and freedom of expression,” SERAP said. “Any agreement with social media companies must meet the constitutional requirements of legality, necessity, proportionality and legitimacy.”

SERAP said it tried to obtain a copy of the agreement through a freedom of information request. It’s suing in part because the government came back with an “unsatisfactory” response to that request. Minister Mohammed reportedly told the group that the details of the agreement were already “in the public space” and did not forward a copy of its terms.

We reached out to Twitter for comment.

Like , SERAP was among several groups that went to court to fight Nigeria’s Twitter ban. The Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States is due to decide whether to rule on that case this week.

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