President Muhammadu Buhari has been sued for allegedly barring people who have not yet linked their National Identification Number (NIN) to their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM).
Telecommunications firms have been ordered by the federal government to prohibit outgoing calls on all unlinked lines. Hundreds of millions of people are affected.
According to SERAP, the government order, according to SERAP, was inconsistent with the standards of legality, according to suit number FHC/L/CS/711/2022 filed in the Federal High Court in Lagos.
SERAP is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Communication, Isa Pantami, from blocking lines indefinitely.
It requires enough infrastructure and logistics to enable Nigerians, including the disabled, the elderly, and those living in rural locations, to collect their data and complete registration in order to get a National Identification Number (NIN).
The organization argues that barring lines was inconsistent with the Nigerian Constitution of 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 suit was 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.