Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has filed a suit against the Nigerian Army, it’s Chief of Army Staff and the Attorney-General of the Federation, praying for an order to stop the planned kick-off of Nigeria Army’s Operation Positive Identification.
The suit marked FHC/L/CS/1939/2019 was filed before the Federal High Court in Lagos on October 25.
The Senior Advocate had in a letter published on the 27th of October, stated that the decision of the authorities of the Nigerian Army to subject law abiding citizens to personal identification on the road constitutes a gross infringement of their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to freedom of movement and dignity.
According to him, the exercise was a sad reminder of the illegal practice of the white minority rulers, which compelled Africans to carry pass books outside their homelands or designated areas under the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Mr. Falana gave eight grounds for seeking reliefs, frowned at the planned action of the military as anti democratic, as the Police authorities were vested by constitutional powers to maintain law and order in the country.
“There is no insurrection in every part of the country which the Nigeria police cannot contain to warrant the deployment of armed troops all over the country from 1st November 2019 to December 23rd, 2019,” Falana’s suit submitted a Federal High Court in Lagos read.
“Neither the Constitution nor the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 LFN, 2004 has empowered the Nigeria Army to arrest any citizen who is not subject to service law.”
Although the army on Thursday refuted claims that it has deployed troops across the states of the federation to begin ‘Operation Positive Identification’ (OPI) exercise, it has since commenced the operation today.
A representative of the chief of army told the House of Representatives Committee on Army on Friday that operation does not heavy presence of military on the streets.
“Operation Positive Identification is intelligence-led activity,” said Director, Civil/Military Affairs at the Army Headquarters, U.S Mohammed, who represented Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai.
“Based on credible information, we go to certain areas, make an arrest and profile those arrested by identifying them and through that, we may be able to identify some Boko Haram members and other criminals.”
“There will be no additional checkpoints because it is all intelligence-led. The fact that we are extending it to other parts of the country does not mean there are changes. It is strictly based on credible information and intelligence.”