Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Thursday said that the National Identification Number (NIN) violates the constitutional rights to privacy of Nigerians.
HURIWA further tasked civil rights leaders to seek legal ways to quash the policy, expressing anger at the idea behind the introduction of the policy by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The group said the explanation made by the Minister in Paris, France shows that the Federal Government has plans to spy on the citizens.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, while in France with President Muhammadu Buhari on the Peace Forum, had said the NIN will enable the Federal Government and security agencies to know the identity of internet users in the country.
But HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko, condemned the Minister and the Federal Government for seeking the demolition of the core essence of constitutional democracy which is the right to privacy.
The group said it has decided to proceed to the court of law to seek the appropriate quashing of the NIN policy, which interferes with the citizens’ enjoyment of their constitutional right to privacy.
HURIWA said it understands that rights to privacy are at the core of our constitutional democracy, adding that Pursuant to section 37 of the Constitution, the right to privacy is recognized as a fundamental right in the following words: “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.”
HURIWA affirmed: “The value of privacy must be determined on the basis of its importance to society, not in terms of individual rights. Moreover, privacy does not have a universal value that is the same across all contexts.
“The value of privacy in a particular context depends upon the social importance of the activities that it facilitates. The right of privacy implies the exclusion of the public eye from prying into an individual’s affair.
“Another crucial aspect of the right to privacy entails the right to protect one’s image and personality and to have unfettered access to control one’s zones of exclusivity, space and confidential information.
“The right to privacy lies within the realm of self-ownership. It is the moral liberty of doing what an individual deems fit to be down with his/her individualism and keeping others outside the sphere of his/her self-ownership.
“The right to privacy is one of the fundamental human rights entrenched in the Nigerian Constitution. Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution provides that: “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected”.