An Abuja division of the Federal High Court has fixed a date to hear a suit challenging the military’s “Operation Python Dance” aimed at addressing insecurity across the nation.
The suit was filed by a Lagos-based rights activist, Malcolm Omirhobo. He is asking the court to declare the exercise as unlawful and unconstitutional.
Mr Omirhobo is seeking the court’s declaration that the commencement of the exercise, with effect from January 1 to February 28 is illegal and undemocratic.
Mr Omirhobo wants the court to declare that it is the primary responsibility of the police force to tackle internal security challenges such as kidnapping, terrorism, militancy and proliferation of arms, and not that of the military.
He also seeks a declaration that the use of the military to perform the functions of the police in the conduct of the 2019 elections is illegal.
The applicant is seeking a court’s order, compelling respondents: the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Assembly, the Inspector General of Police, the Nigeria Police Council, Police Affairs Commission as well as the various service chiefs to exhibit what he regards as respect for fundamental rights of the applicant as well as those of Nigerians.
Mr Omirhobo seeks an order that the court “clears off the military from the public spheres and stops forthwith, the use of “Operation Python Dance” in the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Mr Omirhobo also wants an order compelling the police to take charge of the enforcement and maintenance of law and order.
During a court session on Thursday, Mr Omirhobo told the court that the case is urgent ”because it is a problem that matters on individuals”.
According to him, it violates the fundamental rights of the applicant, as well as those of the Nigerian public.
After listening to Mr Omirhobo, the judge, Evelyn Maha, adjourned the matter till January 16 for a substantive hearing.
In the face of crime and insecurity ravaging several parts of the nation, and the pressure on the police, the military is increasingly being engaged in internal security.
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