A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the Nigerian Army to suspend its ongoing Operation Positive Identification.
Justice Rilwanu Aikawa ordered the Nigerian Army and Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to maintain status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana.
Falana, who filed the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1939/2019 on October 25, 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 on Tuesday, none of the respondents were in court.
Falana informed the judge that the respondents had been served the processes and the proof of service was in the court’s file.
Principal State Counsel from the Ministry of Justice prayed the judge to grant an adjournment to enable the Solicitor-General, Mr Dayo Apata, handle the matter personally and also give the respondents time to harmonise their positions.
Justice Aikawa granted his application, saying, “In view of the agreement between both counsels, I hereby order the first and second defendants to maintain status quo pending the determination of the case.”
He matter was adjourned till November 18 for further hearing.
In his suit, Falana had argued that the planned nationwide operation, which will run from November 1, to December 23, 2019, by which Nigerian citizens would be required to move about with means of identification, is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.
He argued that the operation violates his right and that of other Nigerian citizens to liberty as encapsulated in Section 35 respectively of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 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.
He filed along with the suit an order seeking an interim injunction restraining the three respondents from going on with the plan pending the hearing of the substantive suit.