Python Dance III:  Group Seeks To Join Suit Against FG, Army


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

Chief Malcom Omirhobo, a Lagos-based rights activist had, last week, instituted a suit at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, seeking an order restraining the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army from carrying out “Operation Python Dance” across the nation.

In the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/01/2019, the plaintiff among other reliefs, is praying for an order of court declaring the planned military operation during the election period as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.

The applicant contends that the commencement of a nationwide “Operation Python Dance” which started  on January 1 and expected to end on February 28, by the military to tackle internal security challenges during the conduct of the country’s general elections is illegal and undemocratic.

Joined as respondents are the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Assembly, the Inspector General of Police, the Nigeria Police Council, Police Service Commission as well as Service Chiefs.

But IMRAGD,  through their lawyer, Mr Otemu Oghenovo, said they want to be joined in other oppose it.

The group disclosed on Sunday that its intention to be joined as an interested party in the suit was born out of its conviction that the suit filed by Chief Omirhobo was misconceived and an attempt to interfere in the statutory duty and operations of the Nigerian Army.

In an affidavit in support of the joinder application, deposed to by one Eruke Asivwe, a litigation secretary in the chamber of Mr. Oghenovo, the deponent averred, “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 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 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 ‘s interest and its presence in the determination will give the court the competent jurisdiction”.

The suit which is yet to be assigned to a judge, seeks an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the respondents from using the military to perform the duties of the police, in the enforcement and maintenance of law and order, before, during, and after the conduct of the 2019 general elections.

The applicant also is asking the court to make an order, for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, and those of the Nigerian public, to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, as well as private and family life.

In addition, the suit prays the court to declare that it is the primary duty of the Police to tackle internal security challenges such as terrorism, kidnapping, militancy and arms proliferation, and not that of the Armed Forces or military.

More so, the applicant is praying for 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”.