West Africa: Obey Ecowas Court Judgment On Twitter Ban Suits, MRA Tells Govt

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) on Monday called on the Federal Government to immediately take measures to ensure the execution of the judgment of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, which ruled on July 14, 2022 that the indefinite suspension of access to Twitter in Nigeria by Federal Government in June 2021 was unlawful and violated the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Head of MRA’s Legal Department, Ms Obioma Okonkwo, the organization reminded the government that under Article 15(4) of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty, judgments of the court are binding on Nigeria as a member state while Article 22(3) of the Protocol of the Community Court Justice, as amended by the Supplementary Protocol of the Court, stipulates that “Member States and institutions of the Community shall take immediately all necessary measures to ensure execution of the decision of the Court.”

She said in the light of the provisions and the judgment of the Court, Nigeria was under a legal obligation to amend its laws and policies to bring them into conformity with the African Charter and the ICCPR as well as to guarantee that the suspension of Twitter would not re-occur, as directed by the court.

In addition to the consequential order made by the court in its judgment, directing the Government to lift the suspension of Twitter since the suspension was in contravention of Article 9 of the African Charter and Article 19 of the ICCPR, it also ordered the government to take necessary steps to align its policies and other measures to give effect to the rights and freedoms enshrined in the African Charter and the ICCPR.

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