By Michael Ojo
A Federal High Court Lagos on Monday, fixed Feb. 15 to hear a suit challenging the ongoing process of linking the National Identification Number (NIN) with Mobile lines.
Justice Mohammed Liman fixed the date for notices to be served on all parties in the suit after the plaintiff Chief Malcom Omirhobo had informed the court of his process.
Our court correspondent report that Omirhobo sued the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) alongside others over alleged coercion on citizens to link their NIN within a stipulated time frame, without adherence to Covid 19 protocols.
Joined as defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy; Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC); the DG NIMC, and also the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Other defendants are MTN Nigeria Communications Plc; GLOBACOM Ltd; Airtel Networks Ltd (Airtel Nigeria); as well as the Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd, EMTS 9 Mobile.
The applicant who is suing for himself and on behalf of the Nigerian public brought his suit under the provisions of the fundamental rights enforcement rules enshrined in the 1999 constitution.
He told the court that in the midst of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic it was too risky to proceed with the process; also adding that further steps should be stopped, pending the determination of the suit.
Justice Mohammed Liman then asked the plaintiff if he had any written document; specifying the deadline for the registration and the plaintiff told the court that there were online publications to the effect; that the new deadline extension was Feb. 9.
The court consequently, ordered that all parties be served with the processes; and he fixed Monday Feb. 15 to hear both the motion for an interlocutory injunction; as well as the substantive suit, while he struck out the ex parte motion.
The lawyer is asking the court to declare that the respondents’ coercion of the applicant and Nigerians without themselves first complying with the COVID-19 guidelines is a violation of the fundamental right to life of Nigerians.
According to him, the threat by the respondents to disconnect the telephone lines of Nigerians; who fail to link their NIN to their SIM cards within a timeline is a violation of the fundamental right to life of the applicant and Nigerians.
He argued that the directive led millions of
Nigerians besieging the various NIMC offices nationwide in breach of COVID-19 protocols, while trying to comply with the said directives and in the process exposed themselves to the likelihood of contracting Coronavirus.
Omirhobo, therefore, prayed the court to declare such decisions illegal; unlawful; and unconstitutional.