Nigeria: NIMC Regulation That Makes NIN Compulsory For Filing Court Process, Tribunals, Is Unconstitutional — Court Rules

Published: 18/Feb/2021
Source: The Nigerian Lawyer

By Unini Chioma

— Says Only Heads Of Courts Can Make Rules Regulating Filing Of Court Process
— Says NIMC Creates Three Categories of Persons And Deprives Others Not Included From Services

The Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, yesterday, 17th February, 2021 declared the provisions of Regulation 1 (1) (u) of the Mandatory Use of The National Identification Number Regulations, 2017, unconstitutional, null, and void for curtailing right of access to court or arbitration processes.

The provision in question reads, “1. In accordance with the provisions of Section 27(1)(1) of the Act, the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) shall be mandatory for the following transactions-
u) Filing and registrations of criminal and civil action in courts or other arbitration processes;”

Hon. Justice Ojukwu, whilst delivering judgement in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/189/2019 between Eustace Nwaozuzu and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) said the constitution guarantees and protect the right of access to court without unnecessary encumbrance, and that only the Heads of Courts are given powers to make rules as regards accessing the court, accordingly, the purported regulation in that respect was a nullity, TheNigerialawyer reports.

She said the implication of Regulation 1 (1) (u) is that persons who are not eligible to obtain a NIN by virtue of Section 16 of the NIMC Act cannot institute an action in court, be it civil or criminal.

She said the provision appears to run contrary to Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 which guarantees the fundamental human rights of Nigeria citizens including right of access to court which is applicable to everyone, without any exceptions.

Furthermore, she said the placing of NIN as a condition precedent to access court appears to short-change or truncate a person’s right to approach the court…

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Themes: ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Nigeria
Year: 2021