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What Nigerians think of ‘Operation crocodile smile’

The recent announcement by the Nigeria Army to commence Exercise Crocodile Smile VI; a yearly event, has been percieved by many to be coming at…

The recent announcement by the Nigeria Army to commence Exercise Crocodile Smile VI; a yearly event, has been percieved by many to be coming at the wrong time, with the suspicion that it is targeting a group of people considering the on going protests in the country. Here are what some Nigerians have to say.

Shola Ojo, Journalist, Kaduna

The Army’s operation code named ‘Crocodile Smile’ in itself is not a bad idea since it was coined to address an identified security threat to a collective survival of the country.

The question is, why the operation was selected to be spread across the country when there are several others launched at the same time to address serious threats posed by Boko Haram, ISWAP, kidnappers and Banditry?

There are constitutionally recognised ways of registering a grievance against unsatisfactory public service which is the responsibility of the Police, since it is an internal issue. Soldiers are to be deployed to protect national territorial integrity and assets except when there is an emergency which there was none in this case!

Operation crocodile smile, extending to other parts of the country amidst protests is suspicious because unlike the Police who can use water, tear gas and even stick to checkmate escalating protests, soldiers are left with no other option than the rifle they are holding. Mr President must restrain them from the road immediately and deploy them to Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, etc. to fight bandits who also bear commensurate weapons instead of killing and maiming armless Nigerians.


Yusuf Yakub Arrigassiyu, Educationist, Kaduna.

I am in support of whatever the military will do to calm down the #EndSARS protest because I believe the initiators of the protest were at the beginning talking about banning SARS operatives. We are all aware the IGP has come clearly to say SARS has been banned and he has even given some conditions that the new people that will go to SWAT are people that have never been part of SARS before, so I think Nigerians should engage the IGP on the criteria and condition he has given of the new SWAT.

So if there are any agitations that the military is going to end the crisis, I am in total support, a government should not wait and see thugs disguising themselves as civil society organisations destroying property. And if the government fails to take action against this so-called protest, we have seen what happened in Seria, we have seen what happened in Yemen and we have seen what happened in Libya, it started from such protests and turned into a revolution.

I am of the view that they should come out and ensure that this protest ends because the military has the constitutional power to ensure Nigeria remains peaceful. Whatever they call their operation whether it is Operation Crocodile Smile or whatever they call it, I am in support of the military to come out and ensure everybody is safe.


David-West Bekinwariy David, Civil Right Activist, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State

The issue of ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ is not new to us in the Niger Delta region. It has been there before now, however, regarding the timing the current operation is coming up again, that is where the problem lies. As the EndSARs protest turn violent and escalate daily, we have seen prison break and police stations being burnt, in such a situation, I do not think any government will sit and fold its arms and do nothing. So for now, I think the operation is in order, but then the soldiers also maintain a maximum level of civility.

They should bear in mind that human rights exist, they shouldn’t go outside their professional guidelines, they should carryout the operation within the ambit of the law and respect the rights of Nigerians who are protesting.


Chief Chinedu Arthur-Ugwa, South South Coordinator, Ohaneze Youths

The Federal government should concentrate on meeting the demands of the protesting youths instead of bringing an army operation to fuel the tension in the country. The idea of ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’s is not good, they may clash with the protesters, even if the Chief of Army Staff says the operation is an annual thing, it should be suspended at this point in time.

Government should look into the demands of the protesting youths, set up the panel of inquiry to look into the cases of police brutality and the president himself should address the nation with immediate effect, instead of bringing military operation to fuel the already existing tension in the country.


Emem Idio, Media Practitioner, 35, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State

Operation Crocodile Smile iv as we know is a military routine exercise, however, launching it at this period of nationwide EndSARS protest is ill-timed and misplaced, because the good intention of the operation will be misunderstood by Nigerians and sentimentally judged to be against the protesters.

Nigeria is a largely polarized country and are good at reading meanings into government’s actions. Now with the alleged military killing of protesters in Lagos and elsewhere, could further give credence or an impression that the operation is targeted at the protesters.

The widespread condemnation and public outcry against the operation is an indication that the operation is ill-timed and ill-conceived at this material time.


Eunice Nnachi, Journalist, 40, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State

The ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ by the Nigerian Army is ill-timed, with the mood in the nation now, our security forces should be very careful with the way and manner they handle these protests, so that they will not create a war situation in the country.

I suggest the operation be put on hold for now, who knows, maybe it was the announcement of the operation that heightened the protest across the country? Government should work quietly to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of youths agitation and possibly invite their leaders for dialogue instead of creating tension with an ill-timed operation.


Fatima Aliyu, Public Servant, Kaduna.

The Operation Crocodile Smile that has been launched came in when #EndSARS protest started, but it is not to disrupt what they are doing, theirs is to make sure that all social media that carry fake news are tracked and stopped because most of them mislead members of the public into believing fake news. For me, the operation is a good initiative because now, credible media houses will not lose their reputation since many members of the public believe more in social media posts than conventional media.

The members of the #EndSARS protest should not be scared about the operation thinking the operation is to stop them from protesting. It is for our own good, especially to curtail peddlers of fake news. The military is our friend, they have helped us a lot and they are ones securing the country and without them, we are nowhere.


Ojofu Jackson, 30, ICT Expert, Makurdi

The operation in itself is not a bad idea, however, the timing is worrisome, considering the present situation of EndSARS protest across the country. It would have been better if some measures are put in place to first convince the citizens before embarking on the move so that government will carry out its function effectively and peace will reign in the country.


Angela Ogah, 50, Trader, Makurdi

This operation by the Army would have been supported by many, if the government had done the needful. There would be less insecurity to tackle, if government engage idle youths and ensure that there were means of livelihood for its citizens. But the reverse is the case such that many people have taken to crime. I think we need a good person at the helms of affairs to steer development of this country to ensure our survival and then bad people can be dealt with by operation crocodile smile.


Jacob Kegh, 40, Civil Servant, Makurdi

I think the operation is the right thing to do now. Nigerians have been lamenting insecurity in all parts of the country and the situation had never been this bad since independence. Regardless of the timing, I think operation crocodile should do the needful and flush out criminals from the society.


Kajo Martins, 55, Journalist, Makurdi

I’m worried that this Operation would take effect nationwide at a time of such disturbing situation in the country. Is it because of the scrapping of SARS? Why now? Why are they in a haste to start the operation at this period when EndSARS protest is rocking the entire nation? Nigerians need time to understand the motive of this operation because it is suspicious. The fact that the military is more brutal than SARS makes it more worrisome.

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