NIN: Court restrains MTN, Airtel others from barring subscribers’ lines

The telecom operators in the country have been stopped from deactivating or barring any line or sim whose user did not link to the National Identification Number by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

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

Ogungbeje had in a suit, dragged the federal government, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited before the court.

The rights activist had asked the court for an injunction pending appeal, restraining all the respondents jointly or severally, whether by themselves, their agents, outlets, agencies, privies, officials, servants, men, parastatals, units, organs, or anybody or person, however, so called, from taking any step or action capable of enforcing the judgment in anyway and from further outright barring, deactivating and or restricting any SIM cards or his phone lines, or of any Nigerian citizen, slated for February 28, 2024, or any other scheduled date, 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.

He listed 10 grounds for seeking of the application, to 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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