•Invite Buratai for explanations
By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday invited the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai over the proposed nationwide Operation Positive Identification by the Nigerian Army
The House equally mandated it’s Committee on Army to interface with the Army Chief on the motive behind the planned exercise before its commencement and to report back to the House for further legislative action.
The resolution of the House followed a motion under urgent public importance moved by the House Minority Leader, Hon Ndudi Elumelu who described the proposed action of the Army as a recipe to possible militarization of the country.
Presenting his lead debate, Elumelu stressed that such plan by the army would lead to the infringement on fundamental rights of Nigerians, as enshrined in the 1999 constitution (as amended).
The Lawmaker further added that the plan, if followed through, would downgrade innocent Nigerians to suspects and conquered people in their own country; strip them of their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement and instill fear, anxiety and panic in the entire polity.
He described the constitutional duties of the Nigerian Army as the one defending the territorial integrity of the country, asking the them to allow the police and other relevant agencies such as Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) to handle regulatory issues relating to internal security.
He noted that the nationwide operation would also amount to an indirect imposition of a state of emergency across the country by the Army adding that such operations that involves direct contact and regulation of civilians is likely to result in abuses and serious safety issues, especially at this time the nation is battling with the scourge of victimization and extrajudicial killings.
Elumelu further noted thathat the operation would expose many Nigerians, particularly those living in the rural areas, to harassment as they do no have proper means of identification just as there has not been enough public sensitization for the operation.
Elumelu who spoke on the security challenges the nation is faced with, and the efforts by security agencies to safeguard lives of citizens, insisted that the planned implementation of OPI across the nation would only worsen the situation in the country.