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SERAP slams Buhari, says submission of phone ID is illegal and unconstitutional

By Kalu Nwokoro idika

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A frontline human rights advocacy group, Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said the new directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission which says mobile subscribers must submit the international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) of their phones as from July is illegal and unconstitutional.

In a statement made by the right group and obtained by Elombahnews, it said the directive cannot be justified under any condition because it amounts to mass surveillance, which contravenes the 1999 constitution as amended.

SERAP also said the directive violates the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and would affect other human rights too.

However, the advocacy group has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Nigerian Communications Commission to withdraw what it described as illegal directive within 48 hours or they will drag Federal government to court.

The statement read in part, “We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Nigerian Communications Commission to immediately withdraw the illegal directive asking Nigerians to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity of their phones.

“Asking Nigerians to submit their Phone ID is illegal and unconstitutional.

“The directive cannot be justified under any circumstances, as it amounts to mass surveillance, which is contrary to the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], and violates the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and would have profound impact on other human rights.

“The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria has ratified provides that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy or correspondence.

“We’ll see in court if this is not withdrawn within 48 hours.”

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