Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai
A Lagos-based Rights Campaigner, Malcom Omirhobo, on Wednesday asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare as unlawful and unconstitutional, the declaration of “Operation Python Dance” across the nation.
The applicants in the suit labelled FHC/ABJ/CS/01/2019, are Omirhobo and Board of Incorporated Trustees of Malcom Omirhobo Foundation.
Joined as respondents are 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 Nigerian Service Chiefs.
The applicant is seeking the court’s declaration that the commencement of a nationwide “Operation Python Dance” with effect from January 1 to February 28, with the military to tackle internal security challenges during the conduct of the country’s general elections is illegal and undemocratic.
According to him, it violates the fundamental rights of the applicant, as well as those of the Nigerian public, to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, family and private life, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and freedom of movement.
The applicant 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 Armed Forces or military.
He 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, unlawful and unconstitutional.
The applicant, is therefore, seeking a court’s order, compelling the respondents to respect the fundamental rights of the applicant as well as those of Nigerians, by allowing the Police Force to perform its statutory role of enforcement and maintenance of law and order.
He seeks an order that the respondent 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 in their various commands, before, during, and even after the general elections.
Besides, the applicant seeks an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the respondents from using the military to perform the duties of the police, in the enforcement and maintenance of law and order, before, during, and after the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
He seeks an order, for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, and those of the Nigerian public, to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, as well as private and family life.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.