Nigeria: EndSARS Protests - Businessman Slams U.S.$1 Billion Suit Against Twitter CEO

21 October 2020

A businessman, Mr Adamu Garba, yesterday slammed a whopping $1 billion suit against the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of Twitter International Company, Mr. Jack Dorsey, over alleged sponsorship of the ongoing #EndSARS protests across the country.

But in a swift reaction, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said it is heading to court to oppose the suit praying that Twitter be shut down from the Nigerian cyberspace over the raging protests.

SERAP said on its Twitter handle yesterday that it had instructed human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), to lead a team of lawyers on behalf of Nigerians, to oppose the suit filed by a presidential aspirant under the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general election.

Garba, in a suit filed at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, is praying the court to direct Dorsey to stop the operation of Twitter International Company in any part of Nigeria, and is also demanding for $1 billion as damages.

Respondents in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1391/2020, include; Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), National Security Adviser (NSA), Inspector-General of Police (IG), Director General of Department of State Services (DSS), the Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; Nigeria Communication Commission, Jack Dorsey, Twitter International Company and the #ENDSARS Protesters as 2nd to 10th respondents, respectively.

Garba, who is the CEO of IPI Group Limited, in the suit filed by his Lawyer, Mr. Abbas Ajiya, claimed that the suit was filed to enforce his fundamental rights pursuant to Provisions of Order II Rules 1, 2, and 3 of the Fundamental Rights Rules 2009, Sections 34(1), 35(1), 41(1), 43 and 46(1) and 2 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 12(1) of the African Charter on Human and People's' Rights Act CAP. A9, LFN 2004.

He is therefore praying for the court's "Declaration that the mode of sponsorship and protest of the ENDSARS protest by the 8th to 10th respondents is illegal, unlawful and a violation of the applicant's fundamental right to liberty, dignity of human person, freedom of movement and economic right guaranteed and protected under Sections 34(1), 35(1), 41(1) and 43 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended).

"A Declaration that the 1St to 6th respondents have the constitutional and statutory duties to protect lives and property of citizens and ensure the existence of peace and order in any part of the territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as provided under Section 5(1)(a) & (b) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1990 (as Amended), among others

"An Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the 8th to 10th Respondents whether by themselves or by their officers, agents, servants, privies and/or otherwise however called from further sponsoring and staging the ENDSARS protest or any protest in any other manner, howsoever described that infringes on the Fundamental Rights of the Applicant (Adamu Garba) as guaranteed by Section, 34(1), 35 (1) and 41(1) of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 12(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9, 2004.

But SERAP has said it is heading to court to oppose a suit praying that Twitter be shut down from the Nigerian cyberspace over the raging #EndSARS protest.

SERAP tweeted, "We've decided to join S/N: FHC/ABJ/CS/1391/2020 filed by APC member seeking to shut down Twitter because of #EndSARS protests.

"We'll challenge this suit, defend free speech and access to information of everyone.

"We have just instructed Femi Falana (SAN) to lead a team of senior lawyers to represent us and other interested Nigerians to challenge this suit, and to defend people's rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and peaceful assembly."

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