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Court stops military’s operation positive identification campaign

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[FILES] Court, Lagos has ordered the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to suspend the ongoing operation positive identification

A Federal Court, Lagos has ordered the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to suspend the ongoing operation positive identification campaign by the military.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa yesterday directed parties to the suit to maintain the status quo ante pending the determination of the suit filed by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) on October 25 and marked FHC/L/CS/1939/2019 on October 25.

He is seeking, among others, an order stopping the operation.

The COAS, the army and the Attorney-General of the Federation are first to third respondents in the suit.

When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, none of the respondents were in court.

Falana informed the judge that the respondents had been served the processes and that the proof of service was in the court’s file, which was confirmed.

But a principal state counsel from the Ministry of Justice prayed the judge to grant an adjournment to enable the Solicitor-General, Mr. Dayo Apata, to handle the matter personally.

He added that the adjournment would enable the respondents have more time to harmonise their positions.

Justice Aikawa granted his application when the applicant didn’t oppose him.

“In view of the agreement between counsel, I hereby order the first and second defendants to maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the case,” the judge ruled and adjourned further proceedings till November 18.

In the suit, Falana argued that the nationwide operation, which runs from November 1 to December 23, 2019 and by which Nigerian citizens would be required to move about with means of identification, was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

He argued that the exercise violates his rights and those of other Nigerian citizens to liberty, “as encapsulated in Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (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.”

The senior lawyer filed along with the suit an order seeking an interim injunction restraining the three respondents from going on with the exercise pending the hearing of the substantive matter.

In a supporting affidavit sworn to by a lawyer in his team, Mr. Taiwo Olawanle, the plaintiff recalled that on October 8, 2019, Gen. Buratai disclosed that the operation positive identification, said to be ongoing in the North East Theatre of Boko Haram insurgency, would be extended to the entire nation.


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