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Lawyer Maxwell Opara sues Twitter, DSS for N10 billion Damages over tweet



Mr. Maxwell Opara, a legal professional, has initiated a legal action claiming defamation and is seeking N10 billion in damages. The lawsuit has been directed towards the entity previously known as Twitter, now referred to as ‘X’, and the Department of State Services (DSS).

The official document, identified as writ of summons with reference number FCT/HC/CV/7186/23, has been submitted to the FCT High Court by Malachy Nwaekpe on behalf of Opara. The lawsuit lists Twitter Nigeria Limited as the first defendant and the Director-General of the State Security Service (also known as DSS) as the second defendant.

The State Security Service and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice are listed as 3rd and 4th defendants respectively in the suit dated Aug. 11 and filed Aug. 14. 

The lawyer filed the suit against the allegation that Twitter, now known as X, “negligently allowed the defamatory, ethnic profiling and racist comments against” him by the DSS under the leadership of its director-general on the security agency’s platform on July 18 for more than 96 hours.

Opara, who alleged that the post was caused to be published and made viral to millions of readers, described the message as “false, defamatory, demeaning, disparaging and harmful.” 

Reliefs being sought 

He, therefore, sought eight reliefs one of which include: 

  • An order of this honourable court directing the 2nd and 3rd defendants (DG and DSS), jointly and severally, to issue a letter of apology on the 1st defendant’s platform Twitter and a daily newspaper widely read across the federation of Nigeria. 

He is also seeking an order of the court directing the defendants to, jointly and severally, pay to the claimant the sum of N10 billion as general damages for the various defamatory, demeaning, disparaging and harmful words of the 3rd defendant under the leadership of the 2nd defendant which words were published and caused to be made viral by the 1st defendant in its Twitter platform. 

He is also seeking: “An award of 10postjudgment interest per annum on the entire judgment sum from the date of judgment till same is fully liquidated.” 

The Tweet 

In the tweet, the DSS was quoted as having written the following: 

  • “Charge and bail, overzealous uninformed IPOB/ESN lawyer Maxwell Okpara mobilizes other like-minded lawyers against DGSS.” 
  • “Futile Efforts. Well, Nigerians, beware! This is in bad faith. Transferred aggression.” 
  • “A Biafran republic agitator and outlawed IPOB counsel defending the suspended CBN governor.” 
  • “Is IPOB defending one of theirs? What a contradiction, what’s the connection, may Maxwell be properly educated on points of law, please.” 

However, checks by ThePressNG show that the tweet may have been deleted by the security agency, as it is no longer available on its timeline on Twitter (X).