ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja restrained President Muhammadu Buhari from prosecuting Twitter users.
Nigerians circumvented the ban on Twitter by using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) after the Federal Government banned it.
The office of Attorney-General Abubakar Malami threatened to prosecute those violating the ban.
Radio and television stations were also ordered to remove their Twitter accounts by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians had challenged the government’s action.
The court on Tuesday restrained the government and its agents from “unlawfully imposing sanctions or doing anything whatsoever to harass, threaten, arrest, or prosecute Twitter and/or any other social media service provider(s), media houses, radio and television broadcast stations, Plaintiffs, and any other Nigerian who uses Twitter.”
In the wake of Twitter’s illegal suspension in Nigeria and the criminalization of Nigerians and others using Twitter, repression of human rights has escalated, and Nigerians and others have been unlawfully restricted in their freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.”
After listening to arguments from lawyer to SERAP, Femi Falana SAN, and attorney to the government, Maimuna Shiru, the court granted the request.
“The court has listened very carefully to Nigeria’s objection,” it said. This is what the court has to say. Interference with Twitter is viewed as an infringement on human rights, and this will violate human rights. Therefore, this court has jurisdiction over the case. Also, the court orders that the application be heard expeditiously. The Nigerian government must act immediately to implement the order.”
The federal government has announced the team that will interact with Twitter.