The Nigerian Army said its Operation Positive Identification (OPI) is only limited to the insurgency-prone north east part of Nigeria and is designed to supplement Operation Lafiya Dole.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, asked Nigerians to disregard reports that soldiers would embark on the operation nationwide from November 1, debunking a press statement by a fake news mill called Bricks Company.
Musa said that the Nigerian Army had no relationship with the so called Bricks Company and its illusionary OPI. It was the third time this week that the army would post a denial of the identification operation.
Musa said that the army authorities do not issue press statement through any company, adding that its Operation Positive Identification had no such abbreviation as OPI.
He recalled that to complement the ongoing operation in the North East, the army had an ongoing operation positive identification which is intelligence driven, deliberate and targeted operation.
“It’s not an independent operation but an integral and complimentary to Operation LAFIYA DOLE in the North East.
“The aim of the operation is to arrest all those terrorists fleeing or escaping the war zone/Theatre of operation to a safe haven or peaceful areas in Nigeria.
“Members of the public are hereby enjoined to discountenance the hitherto faceless and mischievous Bricks company and its alleged NA OPI,“ he said.
He enjoined Nigerians to cooperate with the army and other security agencies by giving credible information that would assist in the identification and eventual arrest of the fleeing criminals and terrorists.
On Thursday, the army at a presentation at the House of Representatives had similarly debunked the idea of a nationwide OPI.
Chairman of the House Committee on the army, Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas (APC-Adamawa) said that the house has it on good authority that the Army intends to commence OPI on November 1 nationwide.
But Maj. General Usman Muhammed, Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, who represented the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai offered a clarification that the OPI is a subsidiary operation to Operation Lafiya Dole, in the North East.
According to him, based on credible intelligence on Boko Haram terrorists, they are no longer in their in enclaves, they are making a lot on in routs, spreading out away from their traditional strongholds.
The Chief said that the OPI which started on Sept. 22 in the North East was based on the intelligence.
Buratai said that the military has a tradition of initiating operations towards the end of the year to reduce crime during the Yuletide.
“We have exercise Ayama Kpatuma in the North Central, Atilogwu Udor in the South East and Crocodile Smile in the South South are aimed at addressing the security challenges in those zones.
“It is a training exercise and at the same time, it is a true operation whereby we use the opportunity to carry out activities to checkmate criminality and crime within those areas.
“This time around, we feel that we can extend the OPI to some of these areas where we are going to conduct some of these exercises,” he said.
He explained that the OPI is an intelligence led activity based on credible information by which the army go to specific areas and effect arrests.
Muhammaed said that some insurgents had been arrested though the process in the North East where the operation is ongoing.
He said that the citizens would not notice any change in their day-to-day activities and that there would not be extra check points.
He said that there would not be additional troops on the streets and the rules of engagement would thoroughly observed.
He said that the operation was in collaboration with other security agencies like National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the Department of State Service (DSS) among others.
“The exercise is nothing too different, it is something that is going to assist us add value to what we are doing in the north east,” he added.
Buratai said that President Muhammadu Buhari was in support of the operation as well as the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff.