The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has given the Federal Government a 48-hour deadline to unblock millions of unregistered phone lines.

SERAP asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of
Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, and the Nigerian
Communications Commission, NCC, to immediately reverse the
apparently unlawful decision to block over 72 million active
telecommunication subscribers from making calls on their SIMs.

SERAP added that blocking people from making calls undermines their
ability to communicate freely, and associate with others and infringes
their rights to freedom of expression and family life, as well as socio-
economic rights.

SERAP stated that the judgment is inconsistent and incompatible with
the country’s international legal obligations to preserve, safeguard,
promote, and facilitate economic and social rights, despite the fact that it
will have a chilling impact on free expression of ideas and information.

It said that the decision goes against the principles of the rule of law and
democratic society.

It would be recalled that on Monday, April 4, 2022, the Federal
Government authorized telecommunication providers in the country to
prohibit all outgoing calls on unlinked lines.

Subscriber Identity Modules, SIMS, that have not yet been registered
and linked to the National Identification Number, NIN, by users are
referred to as unlinked lines.