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OPI: Army makes clarifications, says any form of Identification is okay

OPI: Army makes clarifications, says any form of Identification is okay

The Nigerian Army on Thursday threw more light on Operation Positive Identification starting today, Friday, saying any form of identification was okay.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai stated this when he appeared before the House Committee on Army, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of the operation.

Buratai was represented in the committee by the Chief of Civil Military Affairs, Maj-Gen Usman Muhammed.

Responding to questions from the lawmakers, Mohammed admitted that the operation would be conducted nationwide. He said cordons, searches and raids would be done at specific areas where intelligence indicated that there were suspects.

Muhammed also explained that identification would not be limited to “valid identification” like the passport, driving licence, voter card or the national identity card. He added that any “means of identification” would be adequate.

Mohammed said: “Essentially, what has been happening is that the military is involved in Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East, which has been going on for several years. Within the major operation, we have subsidiary activities or operations which we undertake. I may not give you all the details but one of them is this OPI.

“Based on credible information and intelligence about the activities of Boko Haram terrorists, they are no more in their enclaves. We have the information that they are spreading out; away from their traditional strongholds. Based on that, this idea of the OPI came up, so that we can undertake cordon and search operations. We will, based on intelligence, go to certain areas, cordon it and arrest people. From there, we will identify them and from there, we will make a lot of arrests.

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“It actually started on the 22nd of September (in the North-East) and we just felt that when it comes to this time of the year, the military has introduced some exercises. They are all aimed at tackling some of the security challenges within particular geographical zones.”

Continuing, Muhammed added: “The OPI is an intelligence-led activity which, based on credible information, we will go to specific areas and effect arrests, profile and identify them, and from there we will be getting some of the Boko Haram terrorists arrested. I can tell you that from the North-East, you don’t notice change; it is not as if we are going to have increase in number of troops on the roads, no additional checkpoints, no roadblocks. It is all intelligence-led.”

Buratai’s further explained that the military would observe the rules of engagement and code of conduct in the execution of the OPI, stressing that it would be in collaboration with the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, Defence Intelligence Agency and the Department of State Services.

He said: “It is not something I should say here. We are actually getting information from other technical sources and human intelligence which is actually assisting us in conducting this particular operation we are undertaking. Now extending it across the country does not mean it will be any different. You will not even notice anything.”

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Timothy Enietan-Matthews

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