Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola of the Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed the hearing of the Motion on notice brought by three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – Enough is Enough Nigeria (EIE); Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) challenging the constitutionality of the proposed Frivolous Petitions (Prohibition, Etc.) Bill, otherwise known as the Anti-Social Media Bill.
The Court having ordered at the penultimate adjournment that the National Assembly be put on notice due to the crucial nature of the suit has granted the organizations leave to serve the Motion on notice on the Senators involved via substituted means since personal service could not be effected on them.
Mr. Olumide Babalola, lawyer to the NGOs, has asked the court to issue an interim injunction to restrain the National Assembly from taking further steps at deliberating on and/or reading the Frivolous Petitions (Prohibition etc.) Bill 2015 for the purpose of passing it into law pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit pending before the court.
The organizations also sought an interim order of the court directing the parties in the suit to maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the suit and to refrain from all acts that would undermine the adjudicatory powers of the court over the subject matter of the suit pending the hearing and resolution of the suit.
They are also claiming that the Bill would hamper the investigation and prosecution of crimes in Nigeria as informants and witnesses would now be disqualified for failure to first depose to affidavits, adding that their rights as journalists and organizations promoting freedom of expression, freedom of the press and good governance would also be violated.