By Agency Report
The Nigerian military has planned a nationwide operation to demand identity cards from citizens across the country.
‘Operation Positive Identification’ would see soldiers accosting citizens on the streets or highways and asking them to produce means of identification on the spot. Soldiers had been taking similar measures to separate citizens from terrorists in the Boko Haram-ravaged northeastern part of Nigeria. The military claimed last month that citizens in the North-east had been cooperating with troops to make the exercise successful by carrying with them valid identity documents.
But the military announced on September 25 that the exercise will be extended nationwide to “checkmate bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, ethnic militia, cattle rustlers as well as other sundry crimes across the various regions of Nigeria.”
The announcement came simultaneously with the awareness about the 2019 edition of the military ‘s anti-crime operations such as ‘Ayem Akpatuma’ in the North-central; ‘Egwu Eke’ in the South-east and ‘Crocodile Smile’ in the South-south and South-west.
Although ‘Operation Positive Identification’ was initially billed to commence alongside the anti-crime patrols on October 7, it was held for additional preparation, according to premium times.
Citizens have been warned to carry a valid means of identification, especially voter’s card, national identity card, driver’s licence, international passport, whenever they are going out to avoid being seen as criminally-minded by soldiers.
Already, some firms have started issuing advisory to their staff members ahead of the planned military operation.
“It is unconstitutional to ask citizens to carry ID cards or be treated as suspects,” Kennedy Angbo, a human rights activist in Abuja, told PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday. “If law enforcement agencies have a reason to suspect a citizen, they should go after that citizen and not subject the whole country to fear.” (NAN)