Court Stops MTN, Airtel, Others From Disabling Subscribers’ Lines Due To NIN

Court Stops MTN, Airtel, Others From Disabling Subscribers’ Lines Due To NIN

A Federal High Court in Lagos has instructed telecom operators nationwide not to deactivate or block any phone line or SIM card of users who haven’t linked them to their National Identification Number (NIN).

During the ruling on an application for restraining orders by rights activist Olukoya Ogungbeje, trial judge Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa restrained telecom operators from taking action on February 22, 2024.

Ogungbeje took the federal government, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, and Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited to court in a lawsuit.

He requested the court to grant an injunction pending appeal, prohibiting all respondents, whether collectively or individually identified, from enforcing the judgment or taking any action to restrict SIM cards or phone lines, including those belonging to Nigerian citizens.

Ogungbeje listed 10 grounds for seeking the application, which include “that sometime in April 2022, the appellant/applicant herein took out a suit against the respondents, challenging the action of the respondents in undermining the judicial powers of the court and the Nigerian legal system and thus infringing on the applicant’s fundamental rights.

“That this court, in a well-considered judgment delivered on May 8, 2023, dismissed the appellant/applicant’s suit.

“That the appellant/applicant, being dissatisfied with the judgment, has exercised his constitutional right of appeal by lodging a notice of appeal against the judgment of this Honourable court on July 26, 2023, by the lower court.

“That the appellant/applicant’s appeal is against the whole decision contained in the judgment of this court.”

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