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NIN-SIM linkage: Court bars MTN others from deactivating subscribers’ lines

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NIN-SIM linkage: Court bars MTN others from deactivating subscribers’ lines

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of the Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained telecommunication operators in Nigeria from deactivating or barring any line or sim which has not been linked to the National Identification Number (NIN) by their subscribers.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa ruled while ruling on a suit filed by a lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, seeking to stop the move that infringed on his fundamental rights.

Ogungbeje, in a suit numbered FHC/L/CS/667/23, joined the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited as respondents.

Specifically, the lawyer had asked the court for an injunction pending appeal, restraining all the respondents jointly or severally, whether by themselves or 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 any way 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 of Nigeria, against the judgment of this Honourable Court delivered on May 8, 2023.

At the court’s last sitting, the judge was informed that none of the respondents had filed their counter to the motion to the suit.

However, after the applicant had moved his application, a lawyer from the Federal Ministry of Justice pleaded with the court that he needed more time to respond to the motion.

The applicant vehemently opposed the application because all parties were served with all the processes and the hearing notice in the matter but failed to file counters.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa, in his ruling after perusing the court file acceded to the lawyer’s request and restrained the telecom operators in the country from barring, deactivating and or restricting any SIM cards or his phone Lines or of any Nigerian Citizen stated for 28 of February 2024.

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Justice Lewis-Allagoa also ruled that his order subsists till the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by the lawyer.

Ogungbeje had informed the court that his motion on notice is premised under Order 26 Rule 1 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019; Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended); Section 6 (6)(B) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.

He listed ten grounds for seeking the application, which include; “That sometimes in April 2022, the Appellant/Applicant herein took out an Originating Summons 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 Honourable Court, in a well-considered Judgment delivered on the 8th of May 2023, dismissed the appellant/applicant originating summons.

“The appellant/applicant, 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 the 26th of July 2023 by the lower Court.

“That the Appellant/applicant’s appeal is against the whole decision contained in the Judgment of this Honourable Court.

“That the Respondents are aware of the appellant/applicant’s appeal to the Court of Appeal of Nigeria as the Respondents have since been duly served with the Appellant/Applicant’s Notice of Appeal.

“That despite the pendency of the appellant/applicant’s appeal, efforts are in top gear by the respondents, specifically on the 28th of February 2024, to ensure further and outright barring, deactivating and restricting of SIM cards and Phone lines of the Applicant and that of Nigerian citizens.

“That the appellant/applicant appeal to the Court of Appeal of Nigeria “has a high degree of success against the Respondents

“There is the need to preserve the rest subject matter of the appeal pending the hearing and determination of the Appellant/Applicant appeal at the Court of Appeal of Nigeria.

“That the appellant/applicant is desirously interested in diligently pursuing the instant appeal that has raised a novel and recondite issue substantially jurisprudential constituting an exceptional circumstance in which this Honourable Court can grant an application of this nature.

“That the Court has the power and jurisdiction to grant application of this nature in the interest of Justice,” he stated.

NIN-SIM linkage: Court bars MTN others from deactivating subscribers’ lines

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BREAKING: FCCPC storms Chinese supermarket over discrimination against Nigerians

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BREAKING: FCCPC storms Chinese supermarket over discrimination against Nigerians

The Federal Competition and Consumer and Protection Commission (FCCPC) on Monday visited the Abuja-based Chinese supermarket situated at the China General Chamber of Commerce over alleged discrimination against Nigerians.

Nigerians on Sunday expressed outrage over reports that the supermarket only allowed entry to Chinese.

The issue was further escalated when a group of Nigerians visited the shopping mall only to be stopped by security personnel.

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The facility manager of the complex, Shaibu Sanusi, confirmed that Nigerians from outside the complex were not allowed to shop but Nigerians within could access it.

While the supermarket remains shut, the consumer protection agency seems to believe that some people are hiding inside in a bid to avoid confrontation with the agency.

BREAKING: FCCPC storms Chinese supermarket over discrimination against Nigerians

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BREAKING: Judge vacates order suspending Ganduje as APC National Chairman

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Abdullahi Ganduje

BREAKING: Judge vacates order suspending Ganduje as APC National Chairman

Kano State High Court, Presided over by Justice Usman Mallam Na’Abba that earlier on slammed an order Suspending Dr Umar Abdullahi Ganduje as National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress APC, has reverses Self vacating same order.

One Haladu Gwanjo and Laminu Sani Barguma who claimed to be the Chairman and Secretary respectively of the APC Ganduje Ward in Dawakin Tofa Local Government area of the State, had secured an order Suspending Ganduje As the Chairman of the Party.

However in a twist of events the Presiding Judge of the High Court Justice Usman Na’Abba said while vacating his earlier order, that upon reading a Motion Ex-Parte together with 27 paragraph affidavit in support and a written address dated the 22nd day of April, 2024 sworn to by one Glory Adah a litigation secretary in the 4th respondent solicitors law firm.

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“And after hearing, Mr. L. O. Oyewo Esq, with A. Falana Esq and J. Essiet Esq counsel’s of the 4th Respondent/Applicant, an order of interim injunction is hereby granted”.

The Interim Injunction order is for staying of the execution of the order of interim injunction contained in the ruling of the court delivered on the 17th April, 2024 directing parties to maintain status qou ante as at the 15th day of April, 2024 in relation to the suspension of the 4th respondent/applicant from the 1st respondent by the Ganduje Ward Executive Committee pending the hearing and determination of the 4th respondent/applicant Motion on Notice..

The Judge than adjourned to 30th day of April, 2024 for hearing on the case.

BREAKING: Judge vacates order suspending Ganduje as APC National Chairman

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BREAKING: Court frees Ex-NIMASA DG Akpobolokemi of N8.5BN fraud

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Patrick Akpobolokemi

BREAKING: Court frees Ex-NIMASA DG Akpobolokemi of N8.5BN fraud

Justice Ayokunle Faji, discharged and acquitted the former NIMASA director-general, today April 22, 2024, while delivering a ruling on a no-case submission filed by him and four defendants, in a 22-count charge against them.

Akpobolokemi was arraigned before the court alongside Major-General Emmanuel Atewe (rtd), a former Commander of the Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield, and two other staff of the agency, Kime Engonzu and Josphine Otuaga.

In discharging and acquitting Akpobolokemi and one Josephine Otuaga, a staff of NIMASA, Justice Faji held that the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie (sufficient evidence) case against them.

However, he ruled that a former Commander of the Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield, Major-General Emmanuel Atewe (rtd), (second defendant), and a Staff of NIMASA, Kime Engonzu (third defendant), have to open their defence because they have a case to answer in counts 12 to 22 of the charge.

Akpobolokemi had in a no-case submission filed by his lawyers, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) leading with Collins Ogbonna, prayed the court for an acquittal without having him present a defence.

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He stated that the prosecution, with all its witnesses and evidence tendered while making its case, failed to link him to the alleged crimes.

The defendants are being prosecuted for an amended 22-count charge bordering on conspiracy; conversion; and stealing (by fraudulent conversion).

One of the counts reads: “That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu, and Josphine Otuaga sometime in 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: Conversion of the sum of N8,537,586,798.58 property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

They had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby prompting the commencement of their trial.

Upon conclusion of the prosecution’s case, all the defendants opted for no-case submission.

Delivering its Ruling, Justice Faji held that none of the witnesses called by the Prosecution led any shred of evidence linking the first defendant, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, and the fourth defendant to the offences they were charged for.

The court held that having regard to the totality of evidence led by the prosecution failed to provide any credible evidence linking the first defendant with the commission of the crimes alleged against him in Counts 1-11 of the first amended Charge and/or established a prima facie case against him warranting him to enter upon his defence.

The court also noted that out of the eleven witnesses fielded by the Complainant, only one witness, (PW 2), gave evidence where the name of the first defendant (Akpobolokemi) featured, while other witnesses made it abundantly clear that, they did not know the first Defendant and did not have any dealings with him.

“If there is no sufficient evidence linking the accused with the statutory elements and ingredients a court of trial must as a matter of law discharge him. It has no business searching for evidence what is nowhere and therefore cannot be found,” the Court held.

BREAKING: Court frees Ex-NIMASA DG Akpobolokemi of N8.5BN fraud

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