Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has threatened to sue the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for giving security agencies approval to access the database of the National Identity Management Commission in the course of carrying out their duties.
The NIMC currently houses the data of the over 73 million Nigerians who have linked their National Identity Number with their SIM.
As a result, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said his office through the Nigerian Communications Commission, has conveyed the approval to the relevant security agencies.
The minister, however, said the development would enhance security as it would help security operatives to go after kidnappers and other criminals.
But SERAP argued that the president’s approval negated the rights to privacy of subscribers.
“President Buhari must immediately rescind his reported approval for security agencies to access people’s personal details via NIN-SIM linkage without due process of law”, it tweeted.
“This is an attack on our rights to privacy and dignity.
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“We’re suing to challenge this illegality,” SERAP tweeted.
Pantami while speaking to Nigerian journalists on the sidelines of LEAP 22, a technology event, currently holding Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, had said, “Some of the security institutions, based on the cybercrime law, are allowed to gain access to the database without coming to us because the database allows for lawful intercept. That lawful intercept was allowed in order to support our security agencies.
“Mr. President has given an approved for them to do it, without even our intervention. So, with that approval, the NCC has conveyed that through my office to all the relevant institutions that the President has granted an approval for that.
“So, with it, they can gain access into the database even without our permission, and they have never complained to me, even for once. The only person that wrote a letter to me is the Minister of Defence, asking that we should try to finish the NIN-SIM policy on time.” punch