The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, (PDP) has raised concerns over the planned nationwide implementation of Operation Positive Identification (OPI) by the Nigeria Army.
In a statement on Monday, Elumelu said that it was a recipe for possible militarization of the country.
The lawmaker said that such a plan by the army would lead to the infringement on fundamental rights of Nigerians as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Elumelu stressed that the plan, if allowed, would downgrade innocent Nigerians to suspects and conquered people in their own country.
Elumelu said that it could strip citizens of their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement, instill fear, anxiety and panic in the entire polity. The opposition leader noted that the nationwide operation would also amount to an indirect imposition of a state of emergency across the country by the Army.
He said that such military operations that involved direct contact and regulating of civilians could result in abuses and serious safety issues.
Elumelu said that many Nigerians, particularly those living in the rural areas, would be victimized especially as there had not been enough public sensitization for such security operation.
According to him, though the nation is faced with serious security challenges, the planned implementation of OPI across the nation will worsen the situation in the country.
“The Army and all security forces should rather develop more pro-people strategies in combating our security challenges instead of a measure that could further victimize the people,” he said.
Elumelu urged the Army to concentrate on its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the country and allow the police and other relevant agencies such as Nigerian Immigration Services to handle regulatory issues relating to internal security.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to review the planned OPI by the military which would begin on Nov. 1, so as to create room for further consultations.