he Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division, has fixed February 8 for the hearing of the case against the Nigerian government over the compulsory linking of SIMs with valid National Identification Number.
This followed a petition by Monday Ubani, a former vice-president of Nigeria Bar Association, against the Federal Government, the Attorney General of the Federation, Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
Ubani had in the petition sought to enforce his fundamental rights in the origination summons brought according to Section 44(1), 39(1)(2) and 33(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court as preserved by section 6 of 1999 constitution as amended.
He also prayed the court to grant an order directing the respondents to extend the deadline for SIM-NIN linkage for at least one year as the court may consider reasonable.
But at the last hearing, one of the respondents argued that the applicant had no locus standi and has not complied with pre-action notice as required by the NCC Act.
However, the court accommodated the processes and warned that all parties must be served timeously, while Ubani, the applicant, was mandated to respond to the preliminary objection within 48 hours.
Therefore, the court adjourned the case’s hearing and judgment to Monday.
Ubani said: “The truth of the matter is this: if between 2012 and now, the country is only able to register about 56 million Nigerians, one is clearly at a loss on how the same country will perform the magic of registering about 70 million subscribers within four months, which is between January and April 2021.”
Ubani also cited the crowded and chaotic scenes at most NIMC registration centres in the country when the nation is battling a spike in COVID-19 cases.
He said the development demonstrates “the lack of wisdom in insisting on the earlier or later deadline as the situation on the ground depicts flagrant non-adherence to the simple social distancing protocols established by the National Taskforce on COVID-19 pandemic, thereby endangering lives”.