By Adibe Emenyonu
A human rights group under the aegis of Edo Civil Society Organisation (EDOCSO) has instituted a suit challenging the federal government directive that all mobile phone subscribers should link their phone numbers to their National Identification Numbers (NIN).
The suit marked: FHC/B/CS/13/2020 was filed at the Federal High Court, Benin Division, Edo State, by counsel to the plaintiffs, Dele Igbinedion.
A copy of the suit, which was made available to journalists in Benin-city, named the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), the Attorney-General of the Federation as first, second, third and fourth defendants respectively.
Others are the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as fifth defendant; Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) as sixth defendant, and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) as 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 his clients’ rights to privacy as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He urged the court to declare the directive as breach of his clients’ rights to privacy, and should 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 their 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 in their powers, and therefore unconstitutional, 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 fail to link their SIM cards (phone numbers) to their NIN.