Army’s ‘Operation Positive Identification’ illegal, says court

Oladimeji Ramon

The Federal High Court in Lagos has declared as illegal the ‘Operation Positive Identification’ introduced late last year by the Nigerian Army in response rising cases of banditry, kidnapping and farmer/herders’ clashes across the country.

The military operation requires that all citizens must carry a means of identification, such as the national identity card, voter card, driving licence, to be able to move in the country.

But human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), had approached the court in November last year to challenge the legality of the military operation.

The court, in a judgment on Friday by Justice Rilwan Aikawa, declared that the military had no constitutional power to embark on such operation.

Justice Aikawa upheld Falana’s contention that ‘Operation Positive Identification’ was an infringement on citizens’ fundamental rights to liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed by the constitution.

He dismissed the  defendant’s preliminary objection, challenging Falana’s locu standi to file the suit.

At Falana’s instance on November 5, 2019, the judge had granted an interim injunction halting the military operation, pending the determination of the suit.

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