Court orders extension of NIN registration
The deadline for registering for a National Identity Number has been extended by two months, according to Justice Maureen Onyetenu of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
She made the order while handing down a decision in a fundamental rights case brought by a lawyer, Monday Ubani, against the Nigerian government, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Nigerian Communications Commission, and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy.
The initial two-week deadline (now extended to April 6, 2021) granted to telecommunications operators to block SIM cards of Nigerians who have not registered their SIM cards with NIN would infringe on their legally assured rights to freedom of expression, right to own moveable property, and right to life, according to Ubani, who is also the chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch.
As a result, he requested that the court issue an order stopping the ultimatum and extending the deadline.
Ubani also asked the court to declare that the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Respondents’ ultimatum to telecommunications operators to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards that are not registered with NIN is insufficient and could cause significant hardship.
Part of the court paper read
“A declaration that in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising cases in Nigeria presently, the deadline was given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to the Applicant and over 200 million Nigerians to register their SIM Cards with NIN, will lead to a rush, thereby resulting to clustering of the Applicant and other Nigerian citizens in a NIN registration centre, subjecting him to the possibility of easily contracting the Covid-19 virus, and such will amount to a violation of his fundamental right to life as protected by section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
An order halting the said ultimatum given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to telecommunications operators to block all SIM cards that are not registered with NIN.”
Delivering her judgment, Justice Onyetenu granted all the reliefs sought by Ubani.