The Federal high court in Lagos has extended the deadline to link a national identification number (NIN) to a SIM card by tow month.
The judge, Maureen Onyetenu, ordered the extension on Tuesday while ruling on a lawsuit filed by Monday Ubani, the former vice-president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Ubani filed a lawsuit in December 2020 against the federal government, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Nigerian Communications Commission, and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy over the NIN-SIM registration deadline of December 30, 2020.
The human rights lawyer argued that the federal government’s initial two-week deadline for telecommunication operators to register for NINs, which runs from December 16 to December 30, 2020, would infringe on Nigerians’ basic human rights and expose them to COVID-19.
“That the two weeks (16th December to 30th December 2020) ultimatum given to telecommunications operators by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards that are not registered with National Identity Number (NIN), is grossly inadequate and will not only work severe hardship,” the suit said.
“But will likely infringe on the fundamental rights of the Applicant (and millions of other Nigerians) to freedom of expression as guaranteed by section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as violate section 44(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which prohibits the compulsory acquisition of right or interest over the moveable property.”
The federal government, on the other hand, had extended the deadline for subscribers with NIN to link it with their SIM to January 19, 2021, and for those without NIN to February 9, 2021, and now to April 6.
The ruling on Tuesday granted all of Ubani’s requests and granted him a two-month extension, which will begin on March 23.