April 17, 2024

Federal High Court Restrains Telecom Operators from Deactivating Lines Over NIN



In a recent development, a Federal High Court in Lagos has issued a restraining order against telecom operators in Nigeria, preventing them from deactivating or barring any line or SIM card whose user has not linked it to the National Identification Number (NIN). The trial judge, Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa, granted this order on February 22, 2024, in response to an application filed by rights activist Olukoya Ogungbeje.


Ogungbeje initiated legal action against the federal government, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, and Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited. In his suit, he sought an injunction pending appeal, urging the court to restrain the respondents from taking any steps to enforce the judgment or from deactivating, barring, or restricting any SIM cards or phone lines, including those of Nigerian citizens, scheduled for February 28, 2024, or any other designated date. This request was made pending the hearing and determination of his appeal at the Court of Appeal against the court’s judgment delivered on May 8, 2023, by Justice Lewis-Allagoa.


Among the grounds listed in the application, Ogungbeje emphasized that the legal action was taken against the respondents for undermining the judicial powers of the court and infringing on fundamental rights. The court’s judgment on May 8, 2023, dismissed Ogungbeje’s suit, leading him to exercise his constitutional right of appeal.

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