President Muhammadu Buhari has been sued for blocking persons yet to link their National Identification Number (NIN) to their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM).
The Federal Government had directed telecommunications companies to block outgoing calls on all unlinked lines. Millions of subscribers are affected.
In suit number FHC/L/CS/711/2022 filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP said the government order was inconsistent with the requirements of legality.
SERAP is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining President Buhari and the Minister of Communication, Isa Pantami, from the continuous blockage of lines.
It demanded adequate infrastructure and logistics to allow Nigerians, including persons with disabilities, the elderly and persons living in remote areas, to capture their data and conclude registration to obtain NIN.
The organization argues that barring lines was inconsistent with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], and the country’s international obligations to respect, protect, and promote socio-economic rights.
Noting that access to telecommunications services is a condition sine qua non for the exercise of human rights, SERAP says the decision to block people from making calls “is discriminatory and a travesty”
Joined in the suit as Respondents are Pantami and Abubakar Malami, Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
The was suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi.
“While Nigerian authorities have a responsibility to secure the rights to life and property, any such responsibility ought to be discharged in conformity with human rights standards.
“The blocking of people from making calls constitutes impermissible restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, information, and association”, it reads.