Army Rejects Lawsuit Stopping ‘Operation Positive Identification’

Army Rejects Lawsuit Stopping 'Operation Positive Identification'

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday, November 19; has fixed November 28 to hear the objection of the Nigerian Army to a suit; seeking to stop the controversial Operation Positive Identification (OPI).

Justice Mohammed Aikawa, on November 5, ordered the Nigerian Army to suspend the operation, pending the determination of a suit filed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana.

The activist-lawyer filed the suit on October 25, seeking, among others, an order stopping the operation.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), the Army and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) are first to third respondents in the suit.

When the matter came up for the first time on November 5; the judge ordered both parties to maintain status quo ante.

 

When proceeding resumed yesterday, the counsel to the Nigerian Army and the COAS; Mrs Olayemi Badewole, drew the court’s attention to a November 14 motion; seeking to regularise her clients’ notice of preliminary objection.

In the absence of any opposition from other parties in the matter; she moved the motion, and her prayer was granted by the court.

Justice Aikawa adjourned till November 28 for the hearing of all preliminary objections to the suit.

Falana had insisted that the planned nationwide operation, which was scheduled to run from November 1 to December 23, 2019; which required Nigerians to move about with means of identification, is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

He insisted that the operation violates his right and that of other Nigerian citizens to liberty, “as encapsulated in Section 35 respectively of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended; and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act; (Cap A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.

He further revealed that the President could only deploy the military to suppress insurrection; or restore law and order when such need arises, in line with Section 217(1) of the Constitution.

Falana also explained the Nigerian Army is not empowered to take over police duties; in line with Section 217 (a) (b) and (c) of the Constitution.

He added that neither the Constitution nor the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 LFN, 2004; empowered the Nigeria Army to arrest any citizen who is not subject to service law.