A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, set a decision date of December 5 for a case brought by proposed kidney donor, David Ukpo seeking the court to reverse orders issued on July 1 and July 6 allowing Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, access to his biodata.
Justice Inyang Ekwo set the date after the attorneys for the parties to the lawsuit adopted their procedures and presented their arguments,
Through his attorney, Bamidele Igbinedion, Ukpo submitted a move on notice with number: FHC/ABJ/CS/984/202 asking the court to overturn decisions ordering banks and various government organisations to give Ekweremadu and his wife access to his biodata.
Ukpo, who joined the Ekweremadus as applicants/respondents in the motion, also listed the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) (1st respondent) and four others in the application.
Others mentioned in the motion are the Comptroller General (C-G), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Stanbic-IBTC Bank; United Bank of Africa (UBA), and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc as 2nd to 5th respondents respectively, but the 5th respondent was later dropped from the charge.
Ukpo, who is currently in the UK in connection with the alleged organ harvesting case against the Ekweremadus, claimed that granting the couple’s request would violate his fundamental private rights as stipulated by Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
However, the applicants claimed in a counter affidavit that Ukpo was not entitled to the requested reliefs since such a thing was prohibited by law. Bright Ekweremadu, the ex-deputy senate president’s younger brother, was the witness.
Their attorney, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, dated and submitted the counter affidavit on September 8.
Bright said in a 20-point argument that even though the court issued its decision on July 1, Ukpo’s entitlement to a fair hearing was not violated.
Eyitayo Falogun, SAN, who represented the Ekweremadus at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, adopted his motions and requested the court to deny Ukpo’s request.
He claimed to be aware of the motion’s introduction on Ukpo’s behalf by a group of civil society organisations working together under the direction of the Edo Civil Society Organization (EDOSCO).
Upko’s application was brought to the court’s attention by Falogun, who labelled EDOSCO “a meddlesome interloper.”
The National Information Management Center’s (NIMC) attorney, Muazu Dikwa, stated that Section 2.11 of the National Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019 was followed by the court orders issued on July 1 and July 6.
According to him, the regulation says that every transmission of data to a foreign land shall be done under the supervision of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
He, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss Ukpo’s application.
Lawyers representing other respondents also asked the court to discountenance the motion.
But Igbinedion, counsel for Ukpo, disagreed with their submissions.
Igbinedion argued that there was no authority given to the government to disclose the personal information of any Nigerian without putting that Nigerian on notice.
He, therefore, contended that the court did not have jurisdiction to have ordered the release of Ukpo’s biodata to the AGF for onward transmission to the UK in the first instance.
He added that the respondents, including the Ekweremadus, had not shown that the court had the statutory jurisdiction to order the disclosure of private information held by the government.
The lawyer prayed the court to grant the reliefs sought and reverse the orders.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Dec. 5 for a ruling.
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