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HomePoliticsPresident Buhari dragged to court over 72million blocked SIMs

President Buhari dragged to court over 72million blocked SIMs

President Muhammadu Buhari has been dragged to court over his failure to unblock the phone lines of over 72 million subscribers barred from making calls on their SIMs.

The suit by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) followed the recent directive by the Federal Government to telecommunications companies to block outgoing calls on all unlinked lines.

The directive followed the expiration 31 March of the deadline for the verification of NIN-SIM linkage. Over 72 million subscribers have now been barred from making calls.

In the suit filed last week at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP is seeking: “an order setting aside the directive by President Buhari to telecommunications companies to block outgoing calls on all unlinked lines without due process of law, and for being inconsistent with the requirements of legality, necessity and proportionality.”

SERAP is also seeking “an order of perpetual injunction restraining President Buhari and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami from unlawfully directing telecommunications companies to block outgoing calls on all unlinked lines, without due process and in violation of Nigerians’ human rights.”

SERAP is further seeking “an order directing and compelling President Buhari to ensure adequate infrastructure and logistics to allow Nigerians including persons with disabilities, older persons, and persons living in remote areas, to capture their data and conclude registration to obtain National Identity Number (NIN).”

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that, “directing and compelling the Federal Government to unblock the phone lines unlawfully barred would be entirely consistent with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], and the country’s international obligations to respect, protect, and promote socio-economic rights.”

SERAP is also arguing that, “Where agencies of government are allowed to operate at large and at their whims and caprices in the guise of performing their statutory duties, the end result will be anarchy, and authoritarianism, leading to the loss of the much cherished and constitutionally guaranteed freedom and liberty.”

According to SERAP: “Access to telecommunications services is a condition sine qua non for the effective exercise of human rights. Therefore, the decision to block people from making calls is discriminatory, and a travesty.”

Joined in the suit as Respondents are Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and Mr Isa Pantami.

The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi

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