SERAP Sues Buhari Over Failure to Stop Unlawful Data Access
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued President Muhammadu Buhari over the failure to review and rescind his reported approval for security agencies to access people’s personal details via NIN-SIM linkage without due process of law.
In a statement issued by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, on Sunday, the organisation accused the President of giving approval to the security agencies without due process.
It asked the court for an order to set aside the unlawful data access, saying it amounts to a violation of the citizens’ rights just as it requested for “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the federal government or any other authority, persons or group of persons from unlawfully accessing people’s personal details via NIN-SIM linkage without due process of the law.
“If President Buhari’s approval is not rescinded, millions of law-abiding Nigerians may feel that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance,” the filed suit read in part.
SERAP maintained that “interference with an individual’s right to privacy is not permissible if it is unlawful or arbitrary.”
According to the suit with number FHC/L/CS/448/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP asked the court to determine “whether the approval for security agencies to access people’s personal details via the National Identification Number [NIN] without due process is consistent with the principles of legality, necessity, and proportionality”.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), and his Communications and Digital Economy counterpart, Mr Isa Pantami, are joined in the suit as respondents.
“The power to access individual’s details raises serious concerns as to their arbitrary use by the authorities responsible for applying them in a manner that reduces human rights by the monitoring and surveillance of millions of Nigerians,” the suit noted.
No date has been fixed for the hearing.