Edo CSO drags FG to court over NIN-SIM linkage

January 31, 2021
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Members of the Edo Civil Society Organizations (EDOCSO) have instituted a suit challenging the Federal Government’s directive that all mobile phone subscribers should link their phone numbers to their National Identification Numbers (NIN).

The suit, with number FHC/B/CS/13/2020, was filed by Dele Igbinedion, Esq, counsel to the plaintiffs at the Federal High Court, Benin Division.

Joined as codefendants in the suit are the National Identity Management Commission, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy; the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC and the Attorney-General of the Federation as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants respectively.

Others defendants include the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN as 5th defendant; the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, as 6th defendant and the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, as the7th 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 his clients’ rights to privacy 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.

“A further declaration that the directive by the Defendants that all the plaintiffs should link phone numbers or SIMs to their National Identification Numbers is a breach of the plaintiffs’ right to privacy as guaranteed by Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“An order of this Honourable Court setting aside the directive by the defendants, for being utra vires their powers and therefore unconstitutional, illegal null and of no effect,” he sought.

Igbinedion urged the court to further restraint the Federal Government and its agents from blocking the SIM cards of his clients on the grounds that they failed to link their SIM cards to their NIN.

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