A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has declared the military exercise tagged Operation Positive Identification by the Nigerian Army as illegal. 

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), had on October 25, 2019 filed a suit against the Nigerian Army, the Chief of Army Staff, and Attorney-General of the Federation over the exercise.

Falana asked the court to declare the operation as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa in his ruling on Friday said the army had no power to breach Nigerians' rights to free and unrestricted movement as guaranteed by the constitution.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had earlier filed a response, praying the court to dismiss Falana's suit.

Malami was represented by Dayo Apata (SAN), who argued that the human rights lawyer lacks the locus to institute the case.

Dismissing the Attorney-General's objections and the Nigerian army, Justice Aikawa held that the applicant had the locus standi to have brought the case before the court.

The judge held that the plaintiff had locus since the planned military action will affect his (Falana) fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution as well as other Nigerians.

The court also restrained the respondents from carrying out the operations as planned, while declaring that such operation will violate the rights of Nigerians to their constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of movement.

Upholding the arguments, the court dismissed the respondents preliminary objections, holding that the plaintiff had locus standing to institute the suit as well as declaring that the army had no right to breach the fundamental rights of Nigerians to move freely within the country.

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