Military has dismissed claims that the Army Special Operation, Exercise Crocodile Smile VI, set to be launched on October 20 is meant to stifle the #EndSARS protesters.
Recall that over the weekend, the Nigerian Army announced that beginning from October 20, it will commence a program tagged ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile VI’.
The military said the exercise is aimed at enhancing the safety and security of the country.
According to the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Sagir Musa, 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.
He explained that this year’s exercise is 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.
Shortly after this was made public, some Nigerians alleged that the exercise was hurriedly put up to attack #EndSARS protesters. However, in a statement released on Sunday, October 18, Colonel Musa dismissed the claim.
Read his statement below
“The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to some social media stuff wrongfully condemning the Army and its Leadership over the announcement of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE VI particularly the Cyber Warfare Component of the Exercise.
This year’s Exercise CROCODILE SMILE is scheduled to commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020 has no relationship with any lawful protest under any guise whatsoever.
For the records, Exercise CROCODILE SMILE is a yearly exercise in the NA Calendar/Forecast of Events which traditionally holds from October to December of each year.
Thus, 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.
So far, the army has acted professionally since the civil protest started over two weeks ago.
The Army hereby enjoins all law abiding Nigerians to go about their lawful activities unhindered as the Exercise has nothing to do with ENDSARS protest, but a yearly event set out to train NA officers and soldiers in its efforts to ensuring safety and security of Nigeria and her citizens”.