A Human rights activist, Femi Falana, has condemned the move by the Nigerian Army to re-launch its Python Dance and Crocodile Smile operations in some parts of the country, urging the military to focus on combating terrorism in the north.
The lawyer stated this while fielding questions from journalists yesterday in Lagos at the 12th Anthony Cardinal Okogie Foundation Annual Lecture themed ‘Security of Life and Property: A Prerequisite for Peaceful Coexistence –The Roles of the State and the Church’.
He said the army had no business with internal security of the country under Section 217 of the constitution.
According to him, such move can only be possible with the directive from the presidency, without which the army cannot be deployed in any part of the country.
He argued that it was the responsibility of the police to contain such situation.
“In any case, the Chief of Army Staff cannot just wake up and say, ‘I am going to take over the country.’ That is a ‘coup’ against the constitution. And so, you can’t go around terrorizing people in the name of security, which is not your own beat.
“Let the armed forces concentrate on combating terrorism in the North East region and allow the police to be equipped by the government to secure the lives and property of citizens.
“Mind you, each of those operations cost millions of naira expected from state governments, you can quote me. Give the money to the police to secure the country.”
Falana, who was the guest speaker, praised Lagos State government’s effort at combating insecurity in the state and urged other states to borrow a leaf on how to manage insecurity.
His words: “The Nigeria police command in Lagos has been sufficiently equipped by the state government; that is why cases of kidnapping are not on the rise in the state, notwithstanding the population.
“So, the Lagos example can be replicated all over the country without the harassment and intimidation by members of the armed forces who cannot discharge their primary responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of our country.”