- President Muhammadu Buhari is in for another legal action over "unlawful shutdown of telecommunication networks in some parts of Nigeria
- Legal action was taken against the president, his minister of communication and digital economy and the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC)
- According to SERAP, the organisation that filed the suit, the sort is expected to determine whether the shutdown of networks is a violation of the rights of access to correspondence
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Sunday, December 5, said it has filed a suit against President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Pantami and one other over the unlawful shutdown of telecommunication networks in Nigeria.
In the suit with the number, FHC/ABJ/CS/1323/2021, which was filed at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and seen by Legit.ng, SERAP prayed the court to give an order of perpetual injunction against the defendants.
The order, SERAP prayed should restrain the defendants from unlawfully shutting down telecommunication networks in any part of the country.
The organisation in its suit asked the court to determine whether the shutdown of telecommunication networks in any part of Nigeria by President Buhari's administration is unlawful, and a violation of the rights of access to correspondence, freedom of expression, information, and the press.
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It also asked the court to determine whether the shutdown of telecommunication networks in any part of the country is inconsistent with the principles of legality, proportionality and necessity, and the rights of access to correspondence among others.
Assigning the matter to a specific court
According to SERAP, the case file has already been assigned to court 4 of the Federal High Court presided by Justice Ahmed Mohammed.
Hearing on the matter has been fixed for Tuesday, January 11, 2021.
Another party that is also joined in the suit as the defendant is the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
SERAP's arguments on the shutdown of telecommunication networks in Nigeria
In its argument, SERAP is stating that large scale communication network shutdowns are forms of punishment to the people.
It also argued that such shutdowns exert significant chilling effects, with direct implications on participatory democracy, whose existence depends upon an active and informed citizenry capable of engaging with a range of ideas.
“While the authorities have a legal responsibility to protect, ensure and secure the rights to life and property, any such responsibility ought to be discharged in conformity with constitutional and international human rights standards.”
SERAP asks court to prevent President Buhari from selling public property
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that SERAP had asked the court to stop President Buhari from selling public properties because of the 2021 budget.
The civil society organisation said the move by the president is a constitutionally wrong one for any government to make.
SERAP also called on the president to work with members of his cabinet and other stakeholders to find alternative measures of reducing the cost of governance in Nigeria.
SERAP, 116 Nigerians move against President Buhari
According to SERAP, the suit was filed alongside 116 other Nigerians who prayed the court to compel the president to take immediate actions against perpetrators of crime during the #ENDSARS protest.
SERAP also asked the court to make an order for the arrest of suspects - especially military and police officers - indicted in the #EndSARS report.