In what may be a desperate move to ensure a forceful end to the ongoing #ENDSARS protests across the country, the top of echelon of the Nigerian Army, which has no solution to combating the book haram terrorists in northern, banditry as well as Fulani herdsmen that are ravaging the country has said it would commence Exercise Crocodile Smile VI from October 20 to December 31, 2020 as part of its effort to enhance the safety and security of the country.
The army in a statement titled, ‘Nigerian army sets to commence exercise Crocodile Smile VI nationwide’, and signed by Acting Director Army Public Relations, Sagir Musa, on Saturday, we gathered is one of the brut ways the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) party led by President Muhammadu Buhari wants to deploy to force Nigerian youths who are protesting police brutality among other leadership malaise in the country off the streets.
The announcement of the Crocodile Smile VI is coming amidst nationwide protests against police brutality, extortion, and extrajudicial killings. For nearly 10 days now, many youths from across the country have expressed anger over abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives and have taken to the streets. The #EndSARS hashtag started on social media after a video showing what looked like a SARS officer attacking a man spread online.
Musa said the exercise was traditionally scheduled in the last quarter of every year to checkmate all forms of crimes and criminality as the end of the year approaches. However, human right activists have also reminded the army that peaceful protests as presently organized by Nigerian youths cannot fall under their so-called crimes and criminal activity.
But the army in the statement explained that this year’s exercise was intended to be more all-encompassing to include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track, and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace. The statement read, “The Nigerian Army is set to start its annual Exercise Crocodile Smile, which is traditionally conducted in the last quarter of the year. This year’s Exercise Crocodile Smile VI is scheduled to commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020.
“The Exercise is deliberately intended to be all-encompassing to include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track, and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace. This is the first-ever Cyberwarfare exercise to be conducted in the history of the African Armed Forces.
“Accordingly, the exercise will also include positive identification component aimed at identifying Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from the North East and other parts of the country as a result of the ongoing operations in the various theatres of operations especially in the Northeast, North Central and North Western parts of Nigeria. “The Nigerian Army, once again, reassures all well-meaning Nigerians of its commitment to the sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria and urges members of the public for their support and understanding throughout the period of the exercise.”