By Ikenna Emewu
Prominent Igbo pressure group, the Alaigbo Development Forum (ADF) has sued President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff over the Nigerian Army’s Operation Python Dance.
The group said the need for the court to order an end to the operation is the escalating tension, rights abuses and reported excesses by the army on innocent citizens and residents of the Eastern Nigeria where the operation is carried out.
The suit filed at the Federal High Court, Enugu Thursday is asking the court to order the immediate withdrawal of the soldiers of the Nigerian Army in the South East of Nigeria on an operation the suit argued is illegal and unconstitutional, for one month.
The matter brought by the ADF’s team of seven lawyers led by Max Ozoaka seeks: “A declaration that the action of the Defendants, especially the 1st defendant (Buhari), in calling out, operationally engaging or deploying the armed forces of the Federation to the south eastern part of the country is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
The next relief is: “An order restraining the defendants, especially the 1st defendant, from deploying and or further deploying or operationally engaging the armed forces of the Federation of Nigeria to the South Eastern part of the country in furtherance of Operation Egwu Eke ll (Python Dance ll).
“An order compelling the defendants, especially the 1st defendant to recall forthwith all soldiers, men and officers of the armed forces of the federation already deployed to the South Eastern part of the country in furtherance of Operation Egwu Eke ll (Python Dance ll).
The suit brought as Originating Summons by the group led by Prof. Uzodinma Nwala has an affidavit stating reasons why the action is compelling and sworn to by Amaechi Ezeh.
He stated in one of the declarations that: ‘I know for a fact that there is no state of emergency in the South Eastern part of Nigeria comprising Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and lmo states.
“I also know that there is no war situation in the South Eastern states of Nigeria which constitute the Area of Responsibility of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army comprising Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and lmo States.
As a matter of fact, “there is no external aggression, threat to territorial integrity, violation of the borders of Nigeria, or insurrection in the South Eastern part of Federal Republic of Nigeria to warrant the deployment of the Armed Forces of the Federation.”
As a result of the conference of the judges of the Federal High Court in Abuja at the time of filing the processes, the Chief Judge was not available to allocate the matter to a court for a definite hearing date.
Ozoaka, lead counsel, for the ADF told Daily Sun that immediately the chief judge is through with the conference, the matter would get a hearing date