How Army’s Operation Positive Identification was botched



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How Army’s Operation Positive Identification was botched

By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja



On October 8, Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Burutai announced that the Operation Positive Identification, which is already in force in Northeast will be extended to other parts of the country.

The Chief of Army Staff, who was represented by Chief of Training and Operations Nigerian Army, Major General E.O. Udoh, said that the exercise was to uncover people with questionable identities.



He said that the operation will also stop dislodged and fleeing insurgents from accessing peaceful zones.

This was disclosed during the launching of routine military exercises Crocodile Smile IV, Egwu Eke IV and Ayem Akpatuma II.

According to him, the operation will be directed at curtailing the movement of bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, ethnic militia and other criminal elements.

However, shortly after its announcement, the operation was embroiled in controversy as Nigerians kicked against the move, which they said will amount to a return of military dictatorship.

Reacting to the plan, the House of Representatives called on President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the Operation.

The lawmakers described the Operation as anti-people which they said posed threats to human rights.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other groups, including the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights also deplored the exercise.
The exercise was billed to takeoff on November 1 with massive deployment of soldiers across the states.

But the Army in what came as a major surprise to observers on Saturday night dismissed the reported Operation as fictitious.

The Acting Director Nigerian Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, said the report emanated from a fictious group, Bricks Company, which he said does not have anything to do with the Nigerian Army.

The Army spokesperson stated: “Following the widespread apprehension on the purported Nigerian Army (NA) operation positive identification from 1 November to 23 December 2019, as mischievously peddled on the social media by a hitherto unknown and fictitious organization the so called Bricks company, which alleges that the NA will conduct the operation and went ahead to state how the operation will be conducted by the Army.

“Specifically, Bricks alleges that – “residents shall witness large numbers of uniformed Nigerian Army personnel parading the roads in an exercise known as OPI”.

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He added: “The NA wishes to inform members of the public that it has nothing to do with the so called Bricks company and its illusionary OPI, it is not an Army operation and the NA does not create any operation with such name or abbreviation in all its operations across the nation in a manner maliciously presented by the so called Bricks company.

“Similarly, NA has never issued press release through private companies or third parties because it has a full fledged Directorate that coordinates its public relations and Information aspects which has a robust cordial working relationship with the press.

“Recall that in order to compliment the ongoing operation in the North East, NA has an ongoing operation positive identification which is intelligence driven, deliberate, targeted operation and not an independent operation but is integral and complimentary to Operation LAFIYA DOLE in the North East. The aim of the operation is to arrest all those terrorists fleeing or escaping the war zone/Theatre of operation to a safe haven or peaceful areas in Nigeria.

“Members of the public are hereby enjoined to discountenance the hitherto faceless and mischievous Bricks Company and its alleged NA OPI.

“The NA wishes to use this opportunity to enjoin all Nigerians to cooperate with the NA and indeed all other security agencies by giving credible information that will assist in the identification and eventual arrest of the fleeing criminals/terrorists in any part of our beloved country”.

How Army’s Operation Positive Identification was botched

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