The controversial operation positive identification purported to have commenced November 1, nationwide but was highly condemned as criticize by various groups across the country has been described as fictitious by the Nigerian Army. Recall on October 8, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Burutai announced that the Operation Positive Identification, which is already in force in North-East, will be extended to other parts of the country.
The exercise was to uncover people with questionable identities and 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.
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 fictitious 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.”
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 a 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.