The Nigerian Army has revealed that the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ which is taking off across the country on Tuesday this week, is not targeted at the #EndSARS protests.
This disclosure was made by the spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Musa Sagir, in a statement on Sunday, October 18, 2020.
This clarification is coming up, following apprehension by Nigerians over the exercise which is scheduled to commence from Tuesday, October 20, to December 31, 2020. The army spokesman disclosed that it has no relationship with any lawful protest under any guise whatsoever.
The statement from the army spokesman reads, “For the records, Exercise Crocodile Smile is a yearly exercise in the Nigerian Army calendar/forecast of events which traditionally holds from October to December of each year.
“To now insinuate that it is an exercise meant to stifle the ongoing EndSARS protest is to say the least highly misinformed. Exercise Crocodile Smile (VI) has nothing to do with the ongoing protest and the NA has never been involved in the ongoing protest in any form whatsoever.”
While stating that the army has so far acted professionally since the civil protest started about 2 weeks ago, Colonel Musa stressed that the exercise was deliberately intended to be all-encompassing to include cyber warfare operations.
He said the cyber-warfare operation was designed to identify, track, and counter negative propaganda on social media and across cyberspace.
He said, “This is the first-ever cyber warfare 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 North East, North Central, and North Western parts of Nigeria,” the statement said.
The army spokesman reassured all well-meaning Nigerians of the commitment of the Force to the sustenance of peace and security in the country and also urged members of the public to show support and understanding throughout the period of the exercise.
This is coming at a time of nationwide protests both on social media and in the streets, demanding an end to police brutality.
Backstory: Nairametrics had reported that the Nigerian Army announced that it would commence a nationwide exercise, Crocodile Smile VI, from October 20 to December 31 as the #EndSARS protest rages on across the country. The Nigerian army said the exercise would be cyber warfare designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda on social media.
Many Nigerians have criticised the exercise over fears that it is another tactic to clamp down on protesters.