FG Reveals How Many Sim Cards That Can Be Linked To One NIN Number

The federal government has revealed that Nigerians can link up to seven SIM cards to one National Identification Number on the National Identity Management Commission Mobile App. This was disclosed on Friday, January 8, by the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, Punch reports. He said: "You will be able to link up to seven SIM numbers to only one. I have already downloaded the app, launched the app, and already linked some of my numbers immediately. This is part of digitalisation." Pantami said the ministry, NIMC and telecommunication operators would review the entire NIN linkage to SIM cards by network users if fresh lockdown is imposed in the country. Meanwhile, he said enrolment for the National Identification Number (NIN) should not consume the time of the applicants. The minister made this known on Friday, January 8, during a programme on Channels TV, adding that the enrolment should not take more than five minutes. Pantami further stated

Judge Orders Journalist’s Arrest

Ecuadoran judge on Monday approved an arrest warrant for journalist Fernando Villavicencio on charges of distributing emails sent by public officials, according to the journalist’s lawyer.

The Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday called on authorities to revoke the warrant.

The charges relate to an October 2013 article Mr. Villavicencio wrote with fellow journalist Belén Palma for Ecuadoran news website Plan V that was critical of the government’s legal battle with U.S. company Chevron.

Alexandra Jaramillo, communications director at the attorney general’s office, told CPJ the article contained confidential information and excerpts from emails sent by the attorney general to the president.

The publication of private communication is criminalized under Article 178 of Ecuador’s new penal code, passed in 2014, and Article 202 of the previous penal code.

The law includes an exception for public information but does not clearly define what that covers.

Ramiro García, a lawyer for Mr. Villavicencio, told CPJ that the article was published in the public interest.

Mr. Jaramillo said a preventative detention order was requested for Mr. Villavicencio because he has fled twice before when faced with charges, including a 2012 criminal defamation complaint filed by President Rafael Correa.

Mr. Villavicencio, who is now director of the news website Focus Ecuador, previously worked as an aide to former National Assembly representative, Clever Jimenéz, who was cited in the Chevron article.

Mr. Jimenéz faces charges of divulging protected information in email blasts and television interviews.

The Plan V article’s co-author, Palma, was not charged. If convicted, Mr. Villavicencio could face up to three years in jail.

If sent to prison, Fernando Villavicencio would be imprisoned without a trial on the basis of charges that violate international standards of free expression,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Prosecutors should drop all charges against him immediately.”

The case against Mr. Villavicencio began in 2013 when authorities searched the homes of the journalist and Mr. Jimenéz, and removed computers and documents related to investigations into corruption, according to Focus Ecuador.

Mr. Villavicencio’s wife, Verónica Sarauz, told CPJ the case was still open in May 2016, when an article by Mr. Villavicencio alleging corruption in the state oil company was published in Plan V.

On June 11, Correa called on the attorney general’s office to quickly prosecute the case against Villavicencio and Jimenéz, according to an article in the state-run newspaper El Telégrafo.

Press freedom groups and relatives of Mr. Villavicencio, who recently announced his intention to run as an opposition party candidate for the National Assembly, say the charges demonstrate political prosecution.
“There is a desire to silence Fernando as part of a government strategy to prevent further allegations of corruption from appearing, in addition to preventing Fernando from participating in the upcoming elections as a representative,” his wife, Sarauz, said.

The prosecution of journalists for publishing leaked or confidential material violates international standards of freedom of expression, according to a 2010 joint declaration by the Organization of American States and the United Nations.

The special rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression at the U.N. and the special rapporteur for freedom of expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated that “journalists, media workers and civil society representatives, who receive and disseminate classified information because they believe it is in the public interest, should not be subject to liability unless they committed fraud or another crime to obtain the information.”