Court Orders Nigerian Banks From Honoring NIMC MASTERCARD

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered all Nigerian banks not to honour any Mastercard transaction that has the logo of the National Identity Management Commission on it pending the determination of a design infringement suit filed by Chams Plc, and Chams Consortium against the Singaporean payment and financial technology company.

The trial judge, Justice Rilawanu Aikawa, also ordered that the court order and other processes including the writ of summons, statement of claims, witness statement on oath, list of documents, and any other documents be served outside jurisdiction on Mastercard’s office at 152 Beach Road, 35-00, The Gateway East, Singapore.

The court made the order sequel to an ex-parte application filed by Chams Plc lawyer, Mr Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), asking the court for the restraining order. 

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Joined as defendants with the Singaporean firm in the suit with number FHC/L/CS/1440/2019 are its Nigerian subsidiary Mastercard Services Sub-Sahara Ltd, NIMC, Mr Ajay Banga, Daniel Monehin, and Omokehinde Ojomuyide.

The court also listed the names of the banks on, which the orders should be served.

In a 41 paragraph statement of claim filed before the court, the plaintiffs averred that sometime in 2006, they were invited by the Government of Nigeria to bid for the Nigeria National Identity Card project. 

As a result of the invitation, the plaintiff went into research and originated a smart card technical design that could serve as a national identity card as well as a means of general financial payment and banking transaction. 

“The smartcard design is as a result of extensive financial, human, and intellectual investment in research and development and same has never been executed in any part of Africa”, the plaintiffs averred.

The national identity card although designed primarily as an ID card, also has other functions that include the incorporation of bank transaction functionality such as cash withdrawals, balance enquiries, PIN change, bill payments, account transfers, and airtime purchases. 

It also features biometric functionality with electronic payments, and International Civil Aviation Organisation travel card.