There appears to be a crisis with regards to the issuance of National Identity Cards to Nigerians as Justice R.M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered Mastercard and her agents to stop issuing cards.
The order, according to a press release issued by Chams Plc in Lagos, follows an exparte motion filed by it and Chams Consortium Limited (CCL) on August 28, 2019, which include an Anton Pillar order was issued on November 7, 2019, where they are asking Mastercard to pay the sum of 114 billion Naira (=N=114B) for damages.
The court order states, inter alia, “An order of interim injunction restraining the defendants, whether acting by themselves or by their directors, officers, servants, agents, technical managers, or otherwise however from further manufacturing, producing, designing and or printing or authorizing the manufacturing, production, designing and or printing of any National Identity Card with MasterCard logo as described in paragraph 16 of the supporting affidavit in Exhibit CC9 pending the determination of the motion on notice filed for hearing”.
A similar order was given to 22 respondent banks in Nigeria restraining them from honouring or giving effect to any transaction from Mastercard. The Anton Pillar Order has empowered the prosecuting solicitor Kemi Pinheiro SAN of Pinheiro LP, Inspector General of Police (IG) or any senior police officer not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police to search any of their premises, take into possession and remove any document relating to the said affidavit. They are also empowered to inspect, take pictures or arrest anybody found to be contravening the orders of the court.
A breakdown of the Statement of Claim shows that 84 billion Naira is for special damages as a result of loss of expected revenue for 8 years, 10 billion Naira for general damages of fraud perpetrated jointly and severally against the claimants and 20 billion Naira for inducing the breach and termination of the Concessions awarded to the Claimants by 3rd Defendant which occurred as a result of the 1st and 2nd Defendants’ fraudulent actions.
Chams had earlier in the year, written an open letter to Nigerian President Muhammedu Buhari, where it asked the government to intervene or MasterCard to accept wrong doing, apologise for the breach of contract and pay compensation to CCL and Chams Plc for their more than US$100m Investment and accumulated losses.