The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has taken legal action against the federal government following the blockage of 72 million unlinked NIN SIM cards. 

Driving the news 
SERAP is suing Nigerian President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami following the directive to Nigerian telecoms to block all unlinked lines on March 31st.

In case you missed it 

  • The federal government ordered Nigerian telecoms to block all unlinked NIN SIM cards. NIN is a unique number dedicated to registered citizens.

Current situation 
The suit by SERAP seeks to override the presidential directive as the order is inconsistent with due process of the law. 

  • SERAP is praying for an order to restrict President Muhammadu Buhari and Isa Pantami from unlawfully instructing Nigerian telecoms to block outgoing calls on all unlinked lines without due process. 
  • The body is also praying for an order to compel President Buhari to provide all Nigerians, regardless of age and disability living in rural areas, the infrastructure to complete the NIN registration process. 

What they are saying 
The human rights body claims that the suit is consistent with the “1999 Constitution (as amended) and Nigeria’s international obligations to respect, protect and promote socio-economic rights.”

  • The body also claims if government agencies receive the freedom to operate unchecked, the outcome would be authoritarianism and anarchy. 

SERAP criticism
The body has filed over 40 public interest lawsuits against the Buhari led administration, with 21 of these filed in 2021. Although the presidency has in the past accused the body of not following up with its lawsuits, SERAP says it would not relent in its efforts in fighting misconduct and constitutional anomalies. 

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