On Wednesday, a Federal High Court in Lagos sat over the same issue and ordered all the major telecommunications service providers in the country to appear before it on September 17 2015 to justify the disconnection of the mobile lines of certain subscribers in the country.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) had reportedly given a seven-day ultimatum, starting from August 4 2015 to the major telecoms operators in the country to deactivate unregistered lines with invalidity status.
The order was reportedly hinged on intelligence reports that several attacks carried out by the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, were coordinated with the use of unregistered mobile lines.
On Wednesday, 9 Nigerians including a Lagos-based lawyer Olayinka Oyeniyi, whose lines had been blocked by the telecoms companies, instituted an action in court on behalf of themselves and all other affected subscribers in the country.
The applicants claimed that they had suffered extreme anguish, having been rendered incommunicado to their loved ones and business interests. They also claimed that their rights were jointly and severally abused as subscribers, even though they had duly registered their lines.
They similarly urged the court to prohibit the telecoms companies from broadcasting unsolicited SMS and short codes to the applicants’ mobile phones in violation of their rights to privacy.
But rather than grant the prayers sought by the applicants, Justice Mohammed Yunusa said it was in the interest of justice to give the telecoms companies the opportunity to justify their actions.
Justice Yunusa therefore ordered the appearance of MTN, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat who were listed as respondents in the suit before the court on September 17 2015, to explain their actions.