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SERAP Sues FG For Blocking 72m Phone Lines Without Providing ‘Adequate Logistics’

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, alleging that the federal government did not put adequate logistics on ground but went ahead to direct telecommunications companies to block outgoing calls on all unlinked lines.

Several Telcos in Nigeria had on March 4, 2022 obeyed the directive and barred over 72 million subscribers from making calls.

Before those lines were barred, the FG, since 2020 had been advising people to link their SIM cards with the National Identification Numbers (NINs).

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which supervises telecommunication operations had said that NIN-SIM Linkage would also help to strengthen the security situation in the country.

But SERAP filed a lawsuit before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, arguing that many Nigerians including persons with disabilities, elderly citizens, persons living in remote areas have not captured their biometrics, and obtain their NINs “due to logistical challenges, administrative and bureaucratic burdens, as well as the persistent collapse of the national grid”.

It noted that while Nigerian authorities have a legal responsibility to protect and secure the country, it should be done within the confines of human rights.
SERAP is praying the court to unblock those lines in the interest of justice


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