The ECOWAS Court of Justice has fixed Friday, 9th July 2021 to hear an application filed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria seeking the consolidation of the four suits before the Court related to the government’s ban on access to Twitter in the country.
This followed an application filed on 5th July 2021 by Mr Abdullahi Abubakar, lawyer to Nigeria seeking an order of the Court for the consolidation of the suits pending before the Court.
Lawyers representing the Registered Trustees of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), and Media Rights Agenda and eight others, two of the four parties suing the Nigerian government over the ban on twitter and who were present at the proceeding did not object to the Respondent’s request.
However the Court observed that only two of the parties were represented in Court and adjourned the matter to July 9, 2021 for all parties including the representatives of the parties absent at the proceeding to make their submissions on the application for consolidation.
The Court had on June 22, 2021 delivered its ruling on the application for interim measures filed by SERAP, in which it ordered the Nigerian government and its agents to “refrain from imposing sanction on any media house or harassing, intimidating, arresting and prosecuting the Applicants, concerned Nigerians for the use of Twitter and other social media platforms,” pending the determination of the substantive suit challenging the ban.
In the initiating applications, the Applicants are challenging the government’s decision to suspend access to Twitter in Nigeria on the ground that it violated their rights to freedom of expression and press freedom among others.
They urged the Court to declare the suspension a continuous violation of their rights.
The suit is being heard by a three member panel of Justices Gberi-Be Ouattara, Keikura Bangura and Januaria Costa.
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