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APC Govs Rally Support For Zulum To End Boko Haram In North-East

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Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have called on all Nigerians to support efforts of governor Babagana Umara Zulum, to end activities of insurgents and return the displaced citizens back to normal life in the North-east region.

The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) believeed that the recent strategies and tactics currently adopted by Borno state government and security agencies are very effective, hence the attack of Saturday, September 26, 2020 on the two convoys by the Boko Haram insurgents to distract the government from ensuring that life return to normal in the state.

The PGF, in a statement signed Sunday in Abuja by its chairman and governor of Kebbi state, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, commiserated with the people and government of Borno state over the attack of Saturday, September 26, 2020 on governor’s two convoys along Maiduguri/Baga road of Borno state.

The APC governors called on the federal Ggovernment to immediately provide more logistical support to security agencies deployed to Borno state to ensure speedy return to normal life in sate and the whole of North-east.

“We join our brother, Governor Zulum, our leaders in Borno state and all Nigerians to pray for the repose of the souls of all those who lost their lives. In this painful period, Nigerians should be strengthened by the determination of Governor Zulum to expedite peacebuilding process in Borno state and indeed the whole of North-east.

“All Nigerians should rise in support of the laudable initiatives of Borno state government to return citizens in the state back to normal life. We must rise in support of the people and government of Borno state to end all activities of Boko Haram insurgents, which promote trade and tax administration that fund their heinous activities.

“Clearly, the strategies and tactics currently adopted by Borno State and security agencies are very effective and the attack of Saturday, September 26, 2020 on the two convoys by the Boko Haram insurgents is to distract the government from ensuring that life return to normal in Borno State. While we commiserate with the Government and people of Borno State, we call on the Federal Government to immediately provide more logistical support to security agencies deployed to Borno state to ensure speedy return to normal life in Borno State and the whole of North-east.

“We commiserate with the people and government of Borno State over the unfortunate attack of Saturday, September 26, 2020 on two convoys along Maiduguri/Baga Road of Borno State – one belonging to His Excellency Governor Babagana Umara Zulum and the second belonging to the Committee on Baga reconstruction.

“As Progressive Governors, we are saddened by this dastardly attack, which has resulted in the unfortunate death of precious lives of security personnel and innocent citizens.”

The forum promised “to support our colleague, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum. We re-affirm our commitment to support our security agencies to end all activities of Boko Haram in all parts of Nigeria.”

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Crocodile Smile: Human Rights Groups Dispel Fear About Nigerian Army’s Efforts to Counter Threats

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The Coalition of Human Rights Monitoring Groups (CHRMG) has assured Nigerians of maximum safety throughout the Nigerian Army’s operation ‘Crocodile Smile’ which it says is targeted at criminals. 

CHRMG’s coordinator, Abubakar Gana, gave this assurance on Monday at a press conference in Abuja ahead of the start of the exercise. 

Gana said the annual operation has no connection with the ongoing #EndSARS protests in the country, contrary to the misconception by “some distractors and tattlers of fake news”. 

In his words, the ‘Crocodile Smile’ is “targeted at the identification of fleeing Boko Haram terrorists from the hot theatre of war in Northeast, but are sneaking into other parts of Nigeria to cause atrocities”. 

He added that the ” exercise has also progressed into the first-ever cyber warfare exercises packaged to identify, track, and counter negative propaganda in social media and in the cyberspace, which is a potent weapon of terrorists in warfare”. 

According to the human rights group, the exercise is an “expression of the Army’s unflagging commitment to the peace and security of Nigeria, which it has always upheld responsively and responsibly, in patriotic flavour in the last five years”. 

Gana assured that troops will continue to respect their fundamental human rights and act professionally as they have always done under Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai. 

He added that “Nigerians can attest that the Nigerian Army’s leadership under Gen. Buratai has zero-tolerance for unprofessional conduct, acts of indiscipline and human rights violations by Army personnel”. 

CHRMG, however, pleaded with Nigerians to discountenance and discard the misinformation and fake news, especially on social media platforms on Exercise Crocodile Smile VI.

Read the full statement below:

The Coalition of Human Rights Monitoring Groups (CHRMG) welcomes the members of the fourth estate of the realm to this press conference. We thank Almighty God for the gift of life and His grace upon our beloved country, Nigeria is facing the multiple challenges of nationhood.

CHRMG finds it imperative to address Nigerians on the Nigerian Army’s conduct of the special edition of Exercise Crocodile Smile VI nationwide set to commence in the next 24 hours. We perceive the exercise as an expression of the Army’s unflagging commitment to the peace and security of Nigeria, which it has always upheld responsively and responsibly, in patriotic flavour in the last five years.

But since the Nigerian Army announced the conduct of Exercise Crocodile Smile VI, slated to commence October 20, 2020, to December 31st, 2020, rumour mongers, detractors and blackmailers have gone out to town with assorted inanities and conjured fals intent on discrediting the timely exercise as we approach the yuletide season as well as instilling fears and panic in Nigerian.

Most laughably, some Nigerians have even linked the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI to the #EndSARS protests in the country and attempted to poison the minds of Nigerians over this yearly routine exercise of the Nigerian Army. But no amount of blackmail and unjustified negative profiling of the Nigerian Army and operations will deter them from performing their constitutional duties.

From our vantage position as watchdogs of the society, CHRMG is assuring Nigerians that it will mobilize monitors and evaluators to observe the conduct of the exercise throughout the country as part of our democratic rights to hold our leaders accountable to us. We shall not blink on this sacred obligation to our compatriots.

But we have no iota of doubt that based on the splendid track records of the Nigerian Army in numerous special assignments on Internal Security (IS) operations, all law-abiding citizens be assured of their maximum protection and safety throughout the exercise, except criminals. We say this confidently and the misgivings about it are misplaced or out of tone with confirmable reality.

The year 2020, a  special version of the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI as disclosed by Army authorities is expansive. Its gamut includes an identification component, targeted at the identification of fleeing Boko Haram terrorists from the hot theatre of war in Northeast, but are sneaking into other parts of Nigeria to cause atrocities. The exercise has also progressed into the first-ever cyber warfare exercises packaged to identify, track, and counter negative propaganda in social media and in the cyberspace, which is a potent weapon of terrorists in warfare.

The detractors mischievously ascribing a novel status and other inordinate reasons for the conduct of the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI are confessed enemies of Nigeria, who seek and pray for the continued destabilization of the country in perpetuity. But Nigerians conversant with the operations of the Nigerian Army under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai knows, the Army has launched both the Nigerian Army Secured Information Platform (NASIP) which is fused into the Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command (NACWC) server.  

The NASIP is powered by strong storage capacity. And the commitment of public resources into its upgrade is to fight cyber warfare.  It is the Army’s years of preparedness to confront the hydra-headed monster of Cyberspace terrorism and other allied matters. The Exercise Crocodile Smile VI streams from this background.

Previous such exercises by the Nigerian Army have always conformed to the highest tenets of respect for the fundamental human rights of citizens everywhere in Nigeria.  The Exercise Crocodile Smile VI is no different! It is expected that this special edition of the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI will also adhere strictly to the highest standards of human rights compliance set by the COAS Gen. Buratai.

Nigerians can attest that the Nigerian Army’s leadership under Gen. Buratai has zero-tolerance for unprofessional conduct, acts of indiscipline and human rights violations by Army personnel. In the last five years, the Nigerian Army has remained a stickler to Rules of Engagement (ROE) and strictly observes global best practices in safeguarding the human rights of Nigerians in all its operations.

Therefore, CHRMG is pleading with Nigerians to discountenance and discard the misinformation and fake news, especially on social media platforms on Exercise Crocodile Smile VI.  It is a ploy by armed criminals to frustrate the exercise, hence it is targeted at apprehending them.

We cannot deny that Nigeria is troubled by senseless acts of insecurities almost everywhere in the country. So, every Nigerian genuinely concerned about the peace and security of the nation should welcome Exercise Crocodile Smile VI. Those seeking to divert attention from the authentic agenda and target of the exercise are the criminals and armed gangs tormenting law-abiding citizens with violence and bloodshed.

The Nigerian Army is only concerned with cleansing the land of bad elements to make Nigeria a proud place of inhabitation. Those afraid are the criminals, armed gangs, their conspirators, accomplices and proxies.

It is senseless to put the cart before the horse. The detractors claiming Exercise Crocodile Smile VI is soldier’s witch-hunt of Nigerians and pre-emptying the Army of the likelihood of abusing human rights of citizens may have to reexamine themselves and their conscience.  

As earlier promised, CHRMG’s monitors and evaluators will keep an eagle eye on the conduct of the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI to ensure no extant law is breached or human rights of citizens violated whatsoever. And where it occurs, the group will not hesitate to inform Nigerians and the relevant authorities as well as seek for justice where necessary.  

We wish you journey mercies to your various destinations and may God bless and protect the Nigerian Army, and its leadership for the wisdom of the patriotic duty; may God bless Nigeria. Thank you all.

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Yoruba Youths Back Nigerian Army’s Exercise Crocodile Smile, Laud Past Successful Outings

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The Coalition of Progressive Yoruba Youths (CYYY) has welcomed the commencement of the Nigerian Army’s annual exercise, ‘Crocodile Smile’. 

According to the Yoruba youths, the operation which commenced in 2016 has been a tremendous success, curbing crime and criminal activities and will continue that trend this year.
 
Comrade Kola Salau, speaking on behalf of the group at a press conference on Monday in Lagos noted that the addition of cyberwar makes this year’s edition unique. 

Salau said that this would help identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace.

Recalling previous editions, Salau noted that “the military made significant strides as it raided suspected criminal hideouts in the creeks around Ajaosolo, Okogho, Opumani, and Obodo general area and in the process, intercepted suspected illegal oil bunkers and several items.
 
“It was the success of the first exercise that necessitated the launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile II on Takwa Bay Island in Lagos and the sequels because it pushed some criminal elements fleeing from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country”. 

Salau added that ” those of us from the Southwest are particularly concerned because of the enormous human and material resources in the region”.

He, however, assured that the exercise has nothing to do with the ongoing protests in the country. 

The Yoruba youths advised innocent and law-abiding Nigerians that they have nothing to fear as the army have earned a reputation as a highly professional and disciplined institution.

Read full statement below:

It is instructive that we address you on a matter of urgent national importance given what the nation is going through at the moment.

You will agree with us that after the Nigerian military made significant progress in quelling terrorism and banditry in parts of the country, that it is likely that some of the criminal elements may have escaped into the hinterland to continue their heinous acts.

Recent events leading to thdisbandmentnt of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigeria Police Force, has also given citizens concerns about the internal security situation in Nigeria and the police and other security agencies forced out of the streets, concerned Nigerians have expressed fears that crime and criminal activities may escalate in the country and have stressed the fact that the lives of our people, property and investments must be protected by the government.

As we all know, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has never shied away from performing its primary responsibility, which is the protection of lives and property as it has technically defeated terrorism and cracked down on banditry and other forms of crime.

It is in that bid that we welcome the recent announcement by the Nigerian Army, that it is set to continue its annual exercise CROCODILE SMILE on Tuesday.

Since the launch of the exercise in 2016 in the Niger Delta region, the Operation CROCODILE SMILE has been a huge success in curbing crime and criminal activities that its area of coverage was widened and relaunched annually in five different phases. 

The launch of the exercise this year would be the sixth in the series of sequels launched to combat crime.

The only addition to the exercise which will make Operation CROCODILE SMILES VI unique in operation is that it will be enabled to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace.

This means that it will be an all-encompassing exercise which in addition to tracking cyber warfare exercises will also include identifying Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from the Northeast and other parts of the country for the sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria.

From these, we can se
that the launch of the exercise has nothing to do with the ongoing protests in Nigeria as is being peddled by mischief makers as the relaunch of the exercise has become a yearly event since 2016 when it was first launched.
 
Innocent and law-abiding Nigerians have nothing to fear about the exercise as the Nigerian Army has earned a reputation for itself as a highly professional and disciplined institution.
 
This is encapsulated in the fact that for the over five years of Operation CROCODILE SMILE in various parts of the country,  troops have not lost focus on what is expected of them but have abided by the rules of engagement in carrying out their tasks of flushing out criminal elements.

On the other hand, those that have every reason to fear are the criminal’s elements in the country who are making life miserable for millions of citizens through acts like kidnapping, extortion, fraud, armed robbery, oil theft and cybercrime. 

Nigerians must ignore the cynicism and attempt to paint the current exercise in a bad light as this is not the first time that agents of anarchy have tried to do so but failed.

When the Nigerian Army launched the first exercise in the Niger Delta region which was aimed at restoring normalcy to the area and to provide adequate security for residents and the national assets situated there, it was called names and there were allegations that the exercise was an attempt at genocide by the Nigerian government on the people of the region.

It was not long before they confirmed it was to check criminal activities like kidnapping, militancy, piracy and other forms of criminal activities in support of the civil authority and to keep Nigeria and its economy safe and going without interruption.

Despite the cynicism,  the military made significant strides with the exercise as it raided suspected criminal hideouts in the creeks around Ajaosolo, Okogho, Opumani, and Obodo general area and in the process, intercepted suspected illegal oil bunkers and several items.

The first phase of the exercise which took place between August and September 2016 in Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Imo and Rivers
states recorded tremendous success as it degraded activities of militants and illegal oil bunkering, destroyed kidnappers’ den, rescued kidnapped victims and destroyed several cultists’ camps.

It was the success of the first exercise that necessitated the launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile II on Takwa Bay Island in Lagos and the sequels because it pushed some criminal elements fleeing from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country.

In the same vein, since the suspected terrorists and criminal elements are running away from other parts of the country like the Northeast, Northwest, Northcentral and other parts of the country, it is only appropriate for the army to launch Operation CROCODILE SMILES VI to apprehend these elements and the make the country peaceful and secure for the people.

Those of us from the Southwest are particularly concerned because of the enormous human and material resources in the region.

The region arguably has the highest concentration of talents and entrepreneurial concerns as well as Small and Medium Scale Enterprises which complements the government’s efforts in providing jobs to our teeming populace. 

The large number of international markets coupled with public and private assets are also avenues for economic growth.

We, therefore, welcome the steps the government is trying to take to protect lives and property and commend the Nigerian Army for coming up with the initiative. 

We welcome Operation CROCODILE SMILE VI.

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Call for Resignation: #EndSARS Protesters Must Not Cross Red Line – Nigerians in Diaspora Warn

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Some well-meaning Nigerians in the diaspora have warned #EndSARS protesters not to cross the red line with the call for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation. 

According to the Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group (NDMG), United Kingdom chapter, any attempt to violently coerce a legitimately elected president in any country to resign is a treasonable felony. 

The group gave this warning in a statement signed by its President, Clifford Ogbonna, on Monday in London, United Kingdom. 

While admitting that it is in place for Nigerians to demand an end to repressive activities of the now defunct police unit, the group urged them to remain focused and not allow narrow interests to jeopardize the agitation especially as there are reports of vicious attempts to hijack the protests.

The NDMG further advised innocent protesters to be on alert as those championing the call for Mr President’s resignation have perfected plans to make the protests turn violent as from today.

The group, however, warned those demanding the President’s resignation, driving the country to the precipice with such plot for anarchy to desist. 

Read full statement below:
The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group (NDMG), United Kingdom Chapter, is alarmed at the anarchists’ inspired calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign because of the #EndSars protests and sundry issues that his administration is in no way responsible for. NDMG warns that protesters must be on alert as those championing the call for Mr President’s resignation have perfected plans to make the protests turn violent as from Monday.

Even as we condemn this call on President Buhari to resign, we warn the #EndSARS protesters that they must not cross the red line that must not be attempted in any democracy. Attempting to violently coerce a legitimately elected president in any country to resign is a treasonable felony anywhere in the world including the United States US and the United Kingdom who are our greatest allies. 

Anyone promoting this invitation to anarchy must know the limit of their rights in a democracy. The chances to send a government out of office in a democracy are available during elections, when the government voluntarily resigns or when it is removed through processes like impeachment. But to prime protesters across major cities in expectation of unleashing them to deploy violence against the state and the public is an irresponsible strategy that must be met with consequences in this instance so that Nigeria will never again be threatened in the fashion that the #EndSARS protesters are doing.  

Nigerians are within their rights to demand an end to the repressive activities of the now-defunct police unit, SARS, and they are also to demand far-reaching reforms of the entire policing architecture. It is impressive that the government is responsive to the original demand of the protests as it immediately accepted all the five points of the demand. 

In any country of the world, these five points would take time to implement and Nigeria cannot be an exception. Fishing out complicit operatives of the defunct SARS cannot be done overnight, conducting mental health checks on over 200 policemen will take time, increasing the salary of policemen requires computations and budgetary adjustments that cannot be achieved in ma atter of days and all other matters raised require time. To continue agitating for reforms that have already been agreed by government. Protesters must give a chance for government to implement the points they have raised.

We call on protesters to remain focused and not allow narrow interests to jeopardize the agitation for police reforms especially since there are vicious attempts to hijack the protests to satisfy pthe ersonal interest of certain people. The trend in the past few days has been for some protesters to cram in even more demands that are unrelated to the current agitation. If this is allowed to continue, then the aim of the movement would be defeated since it would be impossible for the government or anyone to respond to rolling demands that keep changing on han hourly basis depending on who is speaking to the camera.

Protesters must resist handing over the agitation to failed activists and faded celebrities who are now attempting to exploit the situation ground to revive their comatose careers. The demand for police reforms is for the benefit of everyone, irrespective of political, ethnic or religious alignment so selfish people should not be allowed to hijack it to demand the resignation of President Buhari as this would simply pander to the political interest of those making those call while allowing them to turn otherwise peaceful protests into raging mobs that they will attempt to use for dislodging the incumbent government. 

The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group, like other Nigerians all over the world, supports the protest against SARS and police brutality but is opposed to and therefore condemns any call for the president to resign. It is not the intent of the protest and should not be. We consequently warn those driving the country to the precipice with such plot for anarchy to desist. We urge protesters to resist anyone pushing them into the political temptation of demanding the President’s resignation as part of the #EndSARS campaign. 

We warn protesters to be vigilant as we have credible information that those sponsoring the calls for the President’s resignation have planted thugs among them to make the protests turn violent beginning from Monday. Protesters must work out a mechanism for identifying people that foment trouble and hand same over to law enforcement.

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