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Press Release.

For Immediate Release. 

Friday 18th December 2020

Citizen Commons Challenges the Legality of NCC Directive to Telecommunication Companies to Link National Identity Number to Phone Numbers; seeks an injunction to stop the planned 30th December 2020 deadline for disconnection.


Citizens Common Advocacy International, an Abuja based non-profit has approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for an order of interim injunction to stop the implementation of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) regulation directing telecommunication companies to disconnect mobiles lines of Nigerians by 30th December 2020 for failure to link National Identity Numbers.  

The suit referenced FHC/ABJ/CS/CS/1706/2020 argues that the new  regulation made by the NCC is inconsistent with Sections 37 and 39 of the Nigerian constitution, as well as Article 9 of the African Charter Human and People’s Rights, thus constitute a threat to the constitutionally protected right to privacy, freedom of expression of all citizens and residents in Nigeria (who are mobile phone users).  

The suit further argues that the regulation is illegal, null and void because the NCC did not follow the prescribed rulemaking process as stipulated in the sections 57(3), 70 and 72 of the Nigerians Communications Act. 

Amongst other reliefs, the public interest suit sought a declaration by the Court that the new regulation from the NCC as unconstitutional and violates that rights of Nigerians and residents who utilise telecommunication platforms as a means of expression.  It further sought a declaration that the measures by way of regulations made by the NCC  direction Telcos to block the mobile sims of mobiles phones users without NINs linked without complying with regulation-making process stipulated under sections 57(3), 70 and 72 of the Nigerians Communications Act is illegal, null and void. 

Commenting on the suit the Lead Program Advisor and Ag Chief Executive of the organisation, Mr Olalekan Oshunkoya said that “This is an overreach of the regulatory power of the NCC, it is unthinkable that a regulatory policy with such far-reaching consequences on the majority of Nigerians’ social, economic and political lives was designed without the required consultation and blatant disregard to the law that gave NCC its mandate, as well as the constitutional rights of Nigerians.” 

The suits also joined as co-defendants the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the four leading telecommunication companies – MTN Communications Ltd, Globalcom Limited, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Ltd and Airtel Networks Limited. 

A copy of the Filed Originating Summons is available for download here.

About Citizen Commons

Citizen Commons International incorporated as Citizens Common Advocacy International Ltd/Gte is a social impact and citizen empowerment organisation dedicated to supporting local change-makers in their resolve to make change happen.  We empower everyday citizens to take action to solve small and big societal challenges. Our Community spaces provide the platform to incubate social ideas, bring together visionaries to explore innovative solutions to everyday social challenges and raise a new generation of leaders and active citizens. We provide resources and tools for change makers to pursue ambitious ideas and everyday people to join the mission to make our world a better place.

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