Chief Malcom Omirhobo, a Lagos based rights campaigner on Wednesday asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare as unlawful and unconstitutional, the declaration of “Operation Python Dance” across the country.
The applicants in the suit 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 and all the 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, which the military aimed to use to tackle internal security challenges during the conduct of the country’s general elections is illegal and undemocratic.
According to him, the operation violates the fundamental rights 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 For e to tackle internal security challenges such as kidnapping, terrorism, militancy and proliferation of arms, and not that of the Armed Forces or military.
He is seeking 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.
He wants a court order compelling the respondents to respect the fundamental rights of the applicant as well as that of Nigerians, by allowing the Police Force to perform its statutory role of enforcement and maintenance of law and order.
He asked the court to order the respondents to clear off the military from the public spheres and stop forthwith, the use of “Operation Python Dance” in the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
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 after the general elections.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.
It would be recalled that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai had announced the commencement date of “Operation Python Dance III” on December 28, in Maiduguri during a flag off ceremony.