#EndSARS protest: Groups Seek to Join $1bn Suit Against Twitter

Three groups have indicated their interest to be joined in the $1bn lawsuit filed by a Nigerian, Adamu Garba, against the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of Twitter International Company, Jack Dorsey.

Garba, a former presidential aspirant, had filed the suit against Dorsey over his alleged sponsorship of the recent #EndSARS protests in the country.

The three groups – Association of West Africa Media Lawyers, Centre for Peace and Conflict Management in Africa and Rethink Africa Foundation, in a motion on notice, averred that the application was in the public interest.

They said they sought to be joined as amici curiae (i.e as friends of the court) in the matter, with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1391/2020 filed by their counsel, Noah Ajare, before Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbajo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The applicants, while giving their grounds of the application, said they applied specifically to assist the court on the approach to adopt in respect of the violation of the applicant’s (Garba) rights to the fundamental right of liberty, human dignity and free movement complaint.

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“The applicants/amici curiae have significant expertise concerning the right to press freedom, fundamental rights, liberty, human dignity peaceful assembly, and the balancing between this right and other human rights, including rights to freedom of expression, freedom of the press and access to information.

“The applicants/amici curiae also have significant expertise in relation to the exercise of these rights by social media handles, including in cases where such rights seem to conflict with the personal rights of individual citizens.

“The applicant/amici curiae are well equipped to offer useful insights into international law principles and comparative law standards relevant to the just and fair determination of this case by the honourable court.

“The applicants/amici curiae are non-governmental organisations with particular interest and expertise in human rights issues which are relevant to the present case,” they said.

In the motion, the groups sought an order of the court, granting leave to them to intervene in the matter as stated in the grounds for the application.

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“An order granting the applicants/amici curiae leave to submit an amici curiae brief that would assist this court in reaching a just and fair decision in this matter.

“An order of this honourable court directing the applicant (Garba) to serve and provide us with all the originating processes and papers filed in this suit,” it read in part.

Garba, a businessman, had, on Oct. 20, through his lawyer, Abbas Ajiya, filed the suit, praying the court to direct Mr Dorsey to stop the operation of Twitter International Company in any part of Nigeria.

Garba, who is the CEO of IPI Group Limited, said 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.

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Also joined as respondents are Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), National Security Adviser, Inspector-General of Police, Director General of Department of State Service, the Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps; Nigeria Communication Commission, Jack Dorsey, Twitter International Company and the #ENDSARS Protesters as 2nd to 10th respondents respectively.

The matter, which came up on Nov. 25 before Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo, was adjourned until April 22, 2021, for continuation of hearing.

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