A court of a regional Western African economic union barred the Nigerian government on Tuesday from prosecuting Twitter users.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice said the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and criminalization of users by the government was a violation of rights.
“Any interference with Twitter is viewed as inference with human rights, and that will violate human rights,” said the court.
It ordered the government to refrain from “unlawfully imposing sanctions or doing anything whatsoever to harass, intimidate, arrest or prosecute Twitter and/or any other social media service provider(s), media houses, radio and television broadcast stations.”
President Mohammadu Buhari appointed six ministers to have discussions with Twitter after the ruling, according to a statement by the information minister.
The legal tussle was a result of Twitter’s removal of Buhari’s tweet on the secessionist drive in the southern region. Human rights groups challenged the government’s right to ban users on the platform.
ECOWAS Court of Justice adjudicates on issues of human rights violations by citizens of the 15 member states.
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