January 6, 2019

CSO challenges suit seeking to stop Army’s Python Dance III

A civil society organisation, Initiative for Minority Rights Advancement for Great Development, IMRAGD, has approached a Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking to be joined as an interested party in the suit challenging the ongoing Operation Python Dance III by the Nigerian Army.


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Last week,  a Lagos-based Rights Campaigner, Chief Malcom Omirhobo,  asked the court to declare as unlawful and unconstitutional, the declaration of “Operation Python Dance” across the nation.

The applicants in the suit labelled FHC/ABJ/CS/01/2019, 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 as well as Service Chiefs.

But IMRAGD,  through their lawyer, Mr Otemu Oghenovo, in the suit said it intends to show to the court that the suit filed by Chief Omirhobo is misconceived and an attempt to interfere in the statutory duty and operations of the Nigerian Army.

In the affidavit deposed to, by Eruke Asivwe, a litigation secretary in the Chamber of Mr.  Oghenovo,  the plaintiff said,  “That the applicant herein intends to challenge the suit on the ground that it is misconceived and an attempt to interfere into the statutory duties and responsibilities of the Nigerian Army.

“That if the plaintiff succeeds and the Nigerian Army is made to stop its legitimate operations,  the applicants,  its trustees and members will be adversely affected.

“That I know that it is just and judicious for the honourable court to allow the applicant to be joined to enable it present its own case.

“That I also know as a fact that this suit affects the interest of the applicant and its presence in the determination will give the court the competent jurisdiction”.

In the main suit,  Omirhobo, is seeking the court’s declaration that the commencement of a nationwide “Operation Python Dance” with effect from January 1 to February 28, with the military to tackle internal security challenges during the conduct of the country’s general elections is illegal and undemocratic.

According to him, it violates the fundamental rights of the applicant, as well as those 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.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.