The #EndSARS protest started as a trend on Nigerian Twitter but soon gained much publicity across the globe; leading various international personalities to lend their voices to the struggle in support of Nigerian youths.
Among those who endorsed the protest was Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, whose app did not only serve as a launch-pad for the struggle but also provided a platform that publicized the protest to the world; drawing the attention of the international community. No doubt, the role of social media in our world today cannot be overemphasized as it gives people a platform to express themselves on issues that affect them freely. So it doesn’t come as a surprise to hear that a Nigerian Twitter user has taken it upon himself to sue former presidential aspirant, Adamu Garba, who had sued Jack Dorsey for supporting an end to police brutality and bad governance in Nigeria.
It can be recalled that earlier in October, Jack, in a tweet, called for bitcoin donations to support the #EndSARS protesters but was threatened by Adamu Garba who later filed a lawsuit against Twitter’s CEO for allegedly inciting violence simply because he endorsed the #EndSARS campaign against police brutality, extortion and extrajudicial killings of Nigerian youths.
In his petition, Mr Garba asked the court to ban the use of Twitter in Nigeria and order Jack to pay a sum of USD 1 Billion as damages to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But many Nigerians have condemned the move, describing it is an attempt to clamp down on free speech.
Interestingly, there have been speculations that if Jack fails to appear in court to defend himself, the court will rule against him, and it would eventually result in banning Twitter in Nigeria. Possibly, this may be one of the reasons why a counter lawsuit has been filed against Garba.
But we might want to consider the law’s perspective on what happens when a defendant fails to show up in court, especially as it relates to Jack and Garba.
Here’s the legal insight on the issue:
1. No court rules in favour of any party involved in a case if the plaintiff doesn’t have sufficient evidence to back up his claims.
2. Adamu Garba’s case against Jack Dorsey will be baseless if Twitter is not a registered company in Nigeria. In that case, Nigerian laws will not be binding on the company.
3. Thirdly, Garba has no right to sue Jack for a criminal offence against the State (Nigeria) because it is the prerogative of the Attorney General of the Federation. However, Garba can only sue a party on behalf of the State if he has obtained a warrant (Fiat) to do so.
4. Lastly, since it’s a criminal case between two parties from two different countries, the case falls under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, not a local court.