A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the extension for the deadline for National Identity Number (NIN) registration.
The judge, Maureen Onyetenu, ordered the extension of NIN registration for another two months effective from Tuesday, March 23.
She gave the order while delivering a ruling in a fundamental right suit filed by a legal practitioner, Monday Ubani, against the Nigerian government, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Nigerian Communications Commission, and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy.
Ubani who is the chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, argued that the initial two weeks ultimatum (now extended to April 6, 2021) given to telecommunications operators to block SIM cards of Nigerians who have not registered their SIM cards with NIN, will infringe on their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression, right to own moveable property and right to life.
He, therefore, asked the court for an order halting the said ultimatum and extending the deadline.
Ubani also asked the court for; a declaration that the ultimatum given to telecommunications operators by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards that are not registered with NIN, is grossly inadequate and will not only work severe hardship. He added that such will likely infringe on the fundamental rights of the Applicant (and millions of other Nigerians) to freedom of expression as guaranteed by section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as violate section 44(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which prohibits the compulsory acquisition of right or interest over the moveable property.
Ubani further sought a court declaration that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cases in Nigeria, the deadline given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to over 200 million to register for NIN, will lead to a rush, thereby increasing their possibility of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
Answering the prayer of the lawyer, Mrs Onyetenu ordered a two-month extension of NIN registration.
All other prayers made by the applicant were also granted by the judge.