In a relatively surprising move, the linking of NIN to SIM cards has now seen Nigeria’s Federal Government dragged to court.
Federal Government dragged to court: the details
Under the aegis of Edo Civil Society Organisation (EDOCSO), a human rights group has instituted a suit that seeks to challenge a federal government directive.
The directive instructs all mobile phone subscribers to compulsorily link their phone numbers to their National Identification Numbers (NIN).
Dele Igbinedion, counsel to the plaintiffs, filed the case at the Federal High Court, Benin Division, Edo State.
The suit named the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) as the first defendant, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as the second defendant, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) as the third, and the Attorney-General of the Federation as the fourth defendant.
Others are the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the fifth defendant; Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) as the sixth defendant, and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) as the seventh defendant.
Igbinedion, on behalf of his clients (members of EDOCSO), sought whether the directive that all mobile phone subscribers should link their phone numbers to their NIN is not a breach of rights to privacy of his clients, as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He urged the court to declare the directive as a breach of his clients’ rights to privacy and, consequently, set aside the said directive by the federal government.
Igbinedion urged the court to further restrain the federal government dragged to court, and its agents from blocking his clients’ SIM cards because they fail to link their SIM cards (phone numbers) to their NIN.