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NIN: Court bars FG from blocking SIM cards

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A Federal High Court in Lagos State has barred the Federal Government from blocking SIM cards not linked to National Identity Numbers next month.

The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy had, through the Nigerian Communications Commission, asked operators to block all SIM cards not linked to NIN by April 9, 2021.

The deadline had caused many Nigerians to gather at offices of the National Identity Management Commission in disregard of COVID-19 protocols.

However, a former second National Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association and human rights lawyer, Mr Monday Ubani, filed an originating motion and asked the court to stop the Nigerian Communications Commission from disconnecting all SIM Cards not linked to NINs.

The first to fourth defendants in the suit are the Federal Government, Attorney General of the Federation, The NCC and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy.

Ubani sought four reliefs including an order that the two-week ultimatum is inadequate and will not only cause him hardship but will also infringe on his fundamental right to freedom of speech and right to own property as provided under sections 39(1) and 44(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

He also sought an order of the court extending the deadline.

Delivering judgment on March 23, 2021, Justice M.A Onyetenu, ordered that the deadline be extended by two months from the day of the judgement.

The court ruled that the ultimatum of April 9, 2021, be halted as the timeline is grossly inadequate and will not only cause severe hardship, but will likely infringe on the fundamental rights of Nigerians to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Section 39(1)(2) and Section 44(1) of the 1999 Constitution.

The judge further declared that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cases in Nigeria presently, the deadline given to over 200 million Nigerians to register their SIM cards with NIN, will lead to a rush, thereby resulting in clustering of Nigerian citizens in a NIN registration centre, subjecting them to the possibility of easily contracting COVID-19.

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The judgment read in part, “I therefore make the following orders: An order halting the deadline ultimatum of 9/4/21 given by the 1st (Federal Government) 3rd (NCC) and 4th (Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy) respondents to block all SIM cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers at the expiration of deadline.

“An order directing the 1st, 3rd and 4th respondents to extend the deadline for the registration of SIM cards with NIN for at least another two months from the date of this judgment.”

In a letter addressed to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the plaintiff asked him to direct the relevant agencies to comply with the court judgment.

In the letter titled, ‘Notification to comply with judgment in FHC/L/CS/1834/2020’, Ubani asked the AGF to prevail on the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, to reconsider the deadline.

The letter read in part, “I therefore urge you to use your good offices to advise the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, to respect our judiciary by complying with the above stated orders of the court. I further appeal to you to advise the honourable minister to review his stand on the ultimatum for the registration of SIM Cards with NIN beyond the duration declared by the honourable court to at least a year.”

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Ronaldo to miss Juventus, Atalanta clash due to injury

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Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of Sunday’s Serie A game against Champions League rivals Atalanta with a flexor muscle issue.

Coach Andrea Pirlo said the 36-year-old Portuguese striker, the top scorer in Serie A this season with 25 goals, would rest to avoid risking a more serious injury.

“We have an important absentee. Unfortunately, Cristiano will not be taking part in the match due to a problem with his flexor,” Pirlo told a pre-match press conference.

“Over these past few days, he has not been able to recover from the problem sustained after last Sunday’s match against Genoa.

“He hasn’t been able to push himself this week. It would be too risky for us to bring him to Bergamo tomorrow.

“We have decided to leave him in Turin to rest and we will try to have him back for Wednesday’s match against Parma.”

Champions Juventus are third, 12 points off leaders Inter Milan, with their nine-year reign looking set to end.

They play fourth-placed Atalanta who are just a point behind, with next week’s game at relegation-threatened Parma.

Pirlo blamed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s problem on fatigue.

Read Also: Yoruba self-determination rally begins in Ibadan

“Cristiano has always been in excellent condition,” said the Juventus coach.

“Unfortunately, the three matches in the national team have led to an accumulation of fatigue which is a problem for everyone.

“Cristiano also told me that in the national team he should only have played two games, but then that goal not given against Serbia led him to play the third as well, otherwise he would have been back at Juve’s disposal before the third game.

“An accumulation of everything, travel and games, can lead to fatigue. (Manchester City manager Pep) Guardiola also said it, there have been too many matches and the squads are too tight and these are the consequences.

“We also saw it in the Champions League, with (Bayern Munich’s Robert) Lewandowski who was unable to play the Champions League quarter-finals League due to an injury picked up in the national team.”

Juventus can however count on Argentina striker Paulo Dybala who will start for the first time in over three months, after a long knee injury layoff, partnering Alvaro Morata upfront.

Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci has recovered from Covid-19 contracted while with the national team but will start on the bench.

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Adeboye, Fayemi meet in Ekiti

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The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Saturday morning, met with Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, at the Government House, Oke Ayoba, Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

Speaking after the meeting, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Yinka Oyebode, said the 79-year-old cleric paid a courtesy call on the governor.

Read Also: Yoruba self-determination rally begins in Ibadan

He added that Adeboye and Fayemi also discussed issues of nationhood.

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Culture

Yoruba self-determination rally begins in Ibadan

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The Yoruba self-determination rally organised by the Ilana Omo Oodua is underway in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

Hundreds of members of the group whose leader is an 86-year-old Emeritus Professor of History, Banji Akintoye, had initially scheduled the take-off of the rally for the ancient Mapo Hall but the heavy presence of armed policemen forced them to change the venue.

They are addressing people at Mapo Roundabout but they were not disturbed by the police in any way.

The agitators are armed with banners and Yoruba nation flags while leaders of the group addressing the people are saying Yoruba people are tired of staying with Nigeria.

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One of the leaders of the group, Basorun Kunle Adesokan, said Yoruba were no longer part of Nigeria and the people want to be an independent nation.

He condemned the insecurity in Yorubaland, saying the people could no longer stand the injustice in Nigeria.

Adesojan said, “We are no longer part of Nigeria. Yoruba people are determined to stand alone. We are starting the rally here in Ibadan because this is the capital of the Yoruba nation.

” Our brothers in Kwara, Lagos, Kogi, Edo, Delta and other states are here. We are not going to use violence, we want the Yoruba nation. No retreat no surrender. Let Hausa go their way, let Fulani go their own way and Igbo people should also go.

“The rally has taken off, we won’t stop until we achieve our aim.”

One of the leaders of Itsekiri youths present at the rally, Isaac Ajatitan, said Itsekiri people were part of Yoruba and would support them to achieve this aim.

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