This was disclosed on Sunday by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
Joined in the suit, which was made public on Sunday, as Defendant is the National Broadcasting Commission.
The NBC had in a letter dated July 7, 2021 issued a directive asking journalists, television and radio stations in Nigeria to stop “glamourising and giving too many details on the nefarious activities of terrorists and kidnappers” during their daily newspaper reviews.
The request was contained in a suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja by the rights group on Friday.
According to SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization is also seeking an order to compel the president to “explain and clarify whether the $25 billion (N9.7 trillion) overdraft reportedly obtained from the CBN is within the five-per cent limit of the actual revenue of the government for 2020.”
The Complaint followed the move to push through two repressive bills to amend the National Broadcasting Act and Nigeria Press Council Act.
The Federal Government’s objection, read in part: “Particulars: The subject matter of the SERAP suit relates to the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. This is not in any way connected to any Nigerian or SERAP. Individual user’s Twitter accounts are not suspended.”
The ruling followed the suit filed against the government by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians arguing that “the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, criminalization of Nigerians and other people using Twitter have escalated repression of human rights and unlawfully restricted the rights of Nigerians and other people to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.”
The suit followed the order by the National Broadcasting Commission asking TV and radio stations to “suspend the patronage of Twitter immediately”, and telling them to delete “unpatriotic” Twitter, after the social media giant was banned in the country for deleting President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet.
The NBC had reportedly stated that the decision followed the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the Federal Government over purported use of the platform for “activities that are capable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
The organization asked Ms Scotland to “urgently consider recommending the suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth to the Heads of Government, the Commonwealth Chair-in-office, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth to push the government to take concrete measures to respect and promote the Commonwealth’s values of human rights, transparency, accountability and the rule of law.”
SERAP said: “We urge you to publicly give an assurance that you and your government would end the worsening rule of law crisis, obey court judgments, genuinely combat grand corruption, and address the systematic and egregious violations of Nigerians’ right to life and security in several parts of the country.”
SERAP also urged him to “direct Mrs Ahmed to disclose how the government plans to spend the returned £4.2m Ibori loot, including details of planned capital expenditure, and whether there is any plan to ensure that the money and any future returned Ibori loot would be spent to achieve justice and effective remedies for victims of corruption in Delta State.”
SERAP said: “These allegations are not part of the disclosure by the Auditor-General in other audited reports that N4.4 billion of National Assembly money is missing, misappropriated, diverted or stolen.”
SERAP said: “Any such investigation should establish whether public funds have been mismanaged, diverted or stolen in the guise of implementing the duplicated and mysterious projects. Anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any stolen public funds should be fully recovered.”
SERAP is asking the ECOWAS Court to declare “illegal and contrary to Nigeria’s international human rights obligations the provisions of the NBC Act and broadcasting code frequently apply by the Federal Government and NBC to target, harass, intimidate, and impose sanctions on independent television and radio stations in the country.”
SERAP urged him to “direct Mr Malami and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate why the Safe Schools Initiative, established to bolster security at schools in response to the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls has failed to stop frequent abductions of students, and to ensure the safety and security of Nigerian children in schools across the country.”
SERAP also urged Mbam “to send your review and recommendations to the National Assembly for appropriate remedial and legislative action, as provided for by the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended].”
SERAP stated that “if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, anyone suspected to be involved should face prosecution, as appropriate.”
The suit followed recent move by the Federal Government to take over and borrow unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances owned by Nigerians in any bank in the country.