The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the Federal Government of Nigeria to amend Section 24 of the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention, )Act of 2015, saying its modification would meet obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
This comes after a case was filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), challenging the legality of the Section and maintaining that it violated the rights to freedom of expression, information and other rights of human rights defenders, activists, bloggers, journalists, broadcasters and social media users.
SERAP said since the Act was passed, the Nigerian government and its agents have used the provisions to harass, intimidate, arbitrarily arrest and detain, and unfairly prosecute the above listed.
Responding, the federal government of Nigeria urged the Court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that it was misplaced and unproven, arguing that the Act was not enacted to muzzle the freedom of expression but to curtail the activities of criminals carried out on the internet.
Delivering judgement in Ghana, Justice Keikura Bangura stressed that the contentious Section was not in conformity with Articles 9 of the ACHPR and 19 of the ICCPR to which Nigeria is a signatory.
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