“It’s to shut down protests” – Nigerians react as Army launches Operation Crocodile Smile VI
Reactions have begun to trail the Nigerian Army’s announcement of the launch of its annual Exercise, Crocodile Smile to be conducted nationwide from October 20 to December 31.
Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa noted in a Saturday statement that this year’s Crocodile Smile VI would include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda on social media and across cyberspace.
He added that it would be the first-ever cyber warfare exercise to be conducted in the history of the African Armed Forces.
Musa further explained that the exercise would also include positive identification component aimed at identifying Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from the North East to other parts of the country.
He explained that the terrorists were fleeing the ongoing counterinsurgency operation in the region.
Although the Army’s statement emphasised that the exercise was usually conducted in the last quarter of the year, many Nigerians who took to social media expressed fears the exercise was aimed at shutting down ongoing anti-police brutality protests across the nation.
For nearly two weeks, Nigerian youths have taken to the streets to demand an end to harassment, maiming and killing of hapless citizens by policemen.
Various efforts by the Federal and state governments to get the protesters off the streets have failed, fuelling fears the army’s exercise was aimed at forcefully suppressing the protests.
Read comments monitored on Twitter:
The plan to deploy soldiers to slaughter #EndSARS protesters just as Shiite Muslims & IPOB youths were once butchered will be Burutai & Buhari's gravest error. It will turn the #Endsars movement into the #EndNigeria movement. We warn again: DO NOT KILL THESE INNOCENT YOUTHS!
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) October 18, 2020
Attempting to break the youths by unleashing the military will only open up new demands..that will be disastrous and regrettable..the reactions to years of oppression cant stop in a week…@MBuhari if kolade johnson,jimoh ishaq etc were your children will you be quiet?..
— Apst Johnson Suleman (@APOSTLESULEMAN) October 17, 2020
I will personally be in every protest @HQNigerianArmy try to disrupt, holding my flag & on bended knees. I'd wait for them to make an error knowing fully well that someone somewhere will be recording events for the world to see. I so badly want @MBuhari to fumble with the army.
— Grumpy Grandpa (@mayeesq) October 17, 2020
This Buratai is a joker. What is he up to? He wanted to use the Army to break the protests but the President stopped him, now he is hiding under crocodile smile abi? Bros, what exactly are you scheming? Come clean! pic.twitter.com/nLo4z9WJ3J
— Mazi Gburugburu (@Mazigburugburu1) October 17, 2020
They Said the army have not been involved in the protest since it began. But sir what about the army officials flogging protesters? OK they are thugs wearing army uniforms abi? Cyber warfare indeed.
— claret nwachukwu (@claretnwachukwu) October 18, 2020
Buhari bringing in the army to disrupt the protests will be the greatest of his undoing#EndSARS
— 🇳🇬••Nwanyî ömá from the East🍒 (@Kyler_cox3) October 18, 2020
This was the same operation that was launched by the Nigerian army in the eastern part when protests were going on in agitations for secession.
Well, after the army took some lives, the protests seized.
— Louiskee (@_louiskee) October 18, 2020