Justice Rilwanu Aikawa, of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has ordered the Nigerian Army and its Chief of Army Staff (COAS), to suspend the ongoing Operation Positive Identification by the Army.
The Court gave the order yesterday, in a suit filed by Mr Femi Falana (SAN), on October 25 against the Nigerian Army, COAS, and the Attorney General of Federation.
The court ordered both parties to maintain status quo ante pending the determination of the suit.
During yesterday’s proceedings, When the matter came up, none of the respondents appeared in persons in court, but were represented by a counsel.
Falana informed the judge that the respondents had been served the processes and the proof of service was in the court’s file. This was confirmed by the court.
A Principal State Counsel from the Ministry of Justice, who appeared for the three respondents, however, prayed the judge to grant an adjournment to enable the solicitor general, Mr Dayo Apata, to handle the matter personally and also give the respondents time to harmonise their positions.
Mr Falana did not opposed the application.
Justice Aikawa ,while granting the application, held: “In view of the agreement between counsel, I hereby order the first and second defendants to maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the case,”
He adjourned further proceedings till November 18.
In the suit, Falana ,argued that the planned nationwide operation which will run from November 1 to December 23, during 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.”
Among the prayers of the right activist before the court are an order seeking an interim injunction restraining the three respondents from going on with the plan pending the hearing of the substantive suit.
The suit was supported with an affidavit sworn to by a lawyer in his team, Mr Taiwo Olawanle.