A civil rights group known as the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Friday, October 15, slammed the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria with a lawsuit over alleged plans to track WhatsApp messages of citizens in the country.
According to SERAP, the lawsuit, which was filed at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, came as a result of the proposal in the Supplementary Appropriation Act signed in July 2021. The proposal sought to enable the Buhari administration to spend N4.8 billion to monitor text messages, WhatsApp messages, and phone calls in the country.
SERAP urged the court to declare the government's plan to track, intercept and monitor private conversations of Nigerians, describing it as 'an act that severely threatens and violates the right to the preservation of privacy'. The group also referred to the plan as interference with human rights, including the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, adding that the Buhari regime has legal obligations to protect Nigerians and other people against arbitrary interference and violation of human rights.
Apart from the President, the suit also mentioned the Attorney General of the Federation (SGF) Abubakar Malami, and Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed as respondents.
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