The House of Representatives and the Nigerian Army may be heading for a showdown over the proposed operation positive identification scheduled to take place across the country by the Army.
Members of the House said on Tuesday that the proposed exercise was illegal and outside the constitutional mandate of the Army, describing it as an exercise in futility.
Coming under matters of urgent national importance, Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) if to take place, the exercise will infringe on the right of Nigerians to freely move around unhindered, adding that it will amount to imposing a state of emergency on the country from the backdoor.
He said even though the country is currently facing security challenges, the Army should adopt pro-people strategies in fighting insurgencies across the country rather than subjecting Nigerians to untold hardship.
He argued that the idea of the operation was never brought before the House in accordance with provisions of the law, adding that carrying out the exercise will adversely affect ordinary Nigerians especially those in the rural areas.
He asked the House to direct it’s committee on Army to interface with the Army high command on the issue, while asking President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order a stop to the exercise.
In his contribution, Rep. Tobe Okechukwu submitted that an exercise like operation positive identification should have been carried out by agencies like the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Police and other civil security outfits and not the Army.
He said “when we are under attack in the North East, North West and other parts of the country, the Army wants to do operation positive identification which is not within their job description.
He said rather than engage in such am exercise, the soldiers should be deployed to the theatre of war, adding that it will be sad to subject Nigerians to self identification on the streets when the National Identity Card Management Commission has not been able to provide Identity cards to Nigerians.
He said the House Committee on Army must interrogate the Chief of Army staff with a view to finding out the motive behind the proposed exercise.
Rep. Kolawole Lawal (Ogun) questioned how people in the rural areas will be able to get identity cards, adding that the exercise should be put no hold until Nigerians are provided with the national identity card.
Also contributing, Rep. Ahmed (Chibok/Damboa) said ” if our security chiefs are out of ideas, they should let Nigerians know. So that we get others to assist in the fight against insecurity.
“It takes my constitutes about 14 hours to get home on a normal day. If we have to now include this identification, how many says will they now spend on the way before getting home.
“In any case, this exercise is the work of the Nigeria Immigration Service and the NIMC. Many Nigerians have not been able to access their national identity card because of the various in infractions in NIMC. The exercise will be a violation of the fundamental rights of Nigerians”.
The Army, he said should go and provide offensive attack in Boko Haram and not subject Nigerians to untold hardship on the streets.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the house.