The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has faulted a ruling to release the biodata of David Ukpo to Ike Ekweremadu, a former Deputy President of the Senate.
Muazu Mohammed, counsel of the NIMC, on Wednesday, told Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, that if the commission obeyed Friday ruling to release Ukpo’s bio-data to the senator, its system would “suffer in the future”.
Ekwo had on Friday ordered the NIMC, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Stanbic IBTC and the United Bank for Africa (UBA) to submit Ukpo’s information to Ekweremadu to help him prepare for his defence in an organ trafficking case in the United Kingdom.
However, Adegboyega Awomolo, counsel of Ekweremadu, told the court that the NIMC was yet to comply, TheCable reported.
Mohammed reacted by telling the court that the NIMC wanted to protect its system.
“It is not that the first respondent (NIMC) is not ready to comply. We have been talking with applicants’ counsel since the day of judgment,” he said.
“The difficulty is that we want to protect the system. If we comply with this judgment, the system will suffer in the future, my lord.”
He said the act which set up the agency constrains it from releasing the bio-data to the applicants.
He said if the commission released the data due to Ekweremadu’s high position, the action might be exploited in the future.
Reacting, Ekwo said the order was not made because the applicants were highly placed, but in the interest of the country, as any ordinary Nigerian could have made the same application.
Mohammed prayed the court to direct the agency to supply the information to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) instead. This request was granted.
The NIMC is now expected to provide a certified true copy of Ukpo’s bio-data to Abubakar Malami, the AGF, for onward transmission to the UK ahead of Ekweremadu’s appearance in court on Thursday.
In a recent analysis, FIJ explained how Ekwo’s ruling on Ekweremadu’s request for Ukpo’s bio-data might expose the data of millions of Nigerians.
Ekweremadu is standing trial alongside Beatrice, his wife, for alleged trafficking of a minor for the purpose of organ harvesting.
While the UK prosecutors insist Ukpo is 15 years old, Ekweremadu’s counsels claim he is 21.
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