A coalition of civil society groups in the South East has said that the insistence by the Nigerian military to carry out the country-wide operation positive identification, despite its widest rejection by Nigerians is nothing short of experimentation of a martial music and imposition of a military state of emergency by other means.
The group insisted that constitutionally speaking, the Army have usurped the powers of Mr. President as “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces” under democratic setting and brutally undermined Section 1 (2) of the 1999 Constitution. “That is to say that the widely rejected Army operation is likened to Nigeria being taken control of by group of ranking khaki boys outside the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
The above was the position of SBCHROs; a coalition of 24 human rights and democracy organizations based in Southeast Nigeria in a joint statement issued today in Enugu, Eastern Nigeria and signed on behalf of the Coalition by D. Jerry Chidozie Chukwuokoro, Comrade Aloysius Attah, Chidinma Udegbunam, Esq., Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Emeka Umeagbalasi and Comrade Peter Onyegiri; all principal officers of the Coalition.
The group said it found the reasons given by the Army to be nothing short of ‘cork and shoot’ and monumentally contradictory. It said “the Defense Headquarters said the Operation Positive Identification was “meant or targeted at cross border bandits” while Army said it was meant to “catch or fight” “kidnappers, armed robbers, bandits, cow rustlers, arsonists, cultists, ethnic militias or militants and other violent criminals and crimes threatening national security”. The same Army to somersaulted, saying the operation was meant to catch “fleeing Boko Haram insurgents who are no longer in their enclaves” and that ‘it is based on intelligence gathered”. We do hope that it is not a ploy to export political Boko Haram terrorists to other parts of the country particularly in the Southeast and the South-south?
“The Nigerian Army was unable to provide professional and satisfactory answers to the following questions:
(a)Does it mean that Nigerians or citizens caught without Army’s imposed valid means of identification such as ‘National Identity Card’, ‘Voter’s Registration Card’, ‘Driver’s License’ or ‘International Passport’, or “other valid official identification”; including the aging, the under-age and the poor, etc automatically become or be treated extra judicially as “kidnappers”, “armed robbers”, “bandits”, “arsonists”, “cultists”, “IPOB terrorists”, “419s” or “cyber criminals”, “murderers”, “rapists”, “oil thieves”, and “road traffic offenders”?