Legal practitioner Mr Maxwell Opara has filed a defamation lawsuit seeking N10 billion in damages against Twitter, now known as ‘X’, and the Department of State Services (DSS) in Nigeria. The lawsuit, filed at the FCT High Court, names Twitter Nigeria Limited, the Director-General of the DSS, the State Security Service, and the Attorney-General of the Federation as defendants.
Background and Allegations
Opara alleges that Twitter, under its previous name ‘Twitter’, negligently allowed defamatory, ethnic profiling, and racist comments to be made against him by the DSS on July 18. These comments were reportedly posted on the DSS’s platform for over 96 hours and caused to be published and widely read. Opara claims that the comments were false, defamatory, demeaning, disparaging, and harmful.
In the lawsuit, Opara is seeking several reliefs, including:
- An order directing the DSS and the State Security Service to issue a letter of apology on Twitter’s platform and in a widely-read newspaper.
- A joint and several payments of N10 billion as general damages.
- An award of 10% post-judgment interest per annum on the judgment sum.
The Tweet in Question
The tweet at the center of the lawsuit included statements from the DSS that allegedly defamed Opara. The tweet has reportedly been deleted from the DSS’s Twitter (X) timeline.
The lawsuit highlights the legal challenges that can arise in the digital age, where social media platforms can become conduits for potentially damaging statements. It also underscores the growing importance of addressing online defamation and the potential liability of both the platform and the user responsible for the defamatory content.
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