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Crocodile Smile: Oduduwa Foundation Hails Nigerian Army Over Launch of Internal Security Exercise

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The Oduduwa Integrity Foundation (OIF) has welcomed the launch of the operation ‘Crocodile Smile’ by the Nigerian Army, describing it as “timely” at a period the corporate existence of Nigeria is under threat.

With the #EndSARS protests taking a violent twist after reportedly being hijacked by individuals and groups against the interest of the nation, the Oduduwa group said the operation will counter all such emerging threats.

The army announced on Friday that its annual exercise will commence on Tuesday to identify, track and “counter negative propaganda” in the social media and across the cyberspace.

The operation, which is the first ever cyber warfare exercise to be conducted in the history of the African Armed Forces, will also include identification component aimed at identifying Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from their base.

National President, Kunle Salau, speaking at a press conference on Sunday in Lagos said it is pleased that the exercise will be conducted nationwide unlike in the past when it was limited to certain geo-political zones.

He, however, challenged the troops to fish out the cyber arm of Boko Haram, IPOB and their collaborators who take to social media space to spread falsehood.

The Oduduwa Integrity Foundation further called on the army to track virtual payments and financing of questionable activities to destabilize Nigeria as well as the recent trend of hacking of government websites.

While calling for maximum support from Nigerians, the OIF urged troops to resist the provocation that they will naturally come across in the course of this exercise.

Read the full speech below:

Gentlemen of the press, you would have learnt that the Nigerian Army has commenced Exercise Crocodile Smile VI, which will take place across the country beginning this month till December 31 of this year. We invited you here today to make our stance on the exercise known to Nigerians so that they can properly respond to the exercise.

The exercise is timely as it is coming at a time when the corporate existence of Nigeria is under intense attack by enemies of the country with the latest being the #EndSARS protests that have now been taken over by persons that are known to have in the past attempted to use mob action to undermine the incumbent government. When taken against the background of certain developments that were first flagged before the 2019 General Elections, it becomes apparent that a lot has to be done and achieved by the exercise.

Since the last exercise, Nigeria now faces the risk of the diverse terrorist groups collaborating and they are reportedly wooing the hardcore persons among the protestors to make their acts of terrorism metropolitan. The Boko Haram terrorists fleeing a punishing war in the northeast could also sneak to other parts of the country to form cells in their bid to unleash a nightmare scenario on the country. The exercise is equally a chance for the Army to take on the bandits, killer herdsmen and kidnappers that have been tormenting certain parts of the country.

These potential gains from the exercise make us appreciative of the Army and this is in addition to other good things we see in it. First, we are pleased that the exercise is being conducted nationwide unlike in the past when it was limited to certain geo-political zones with peculiar security appraisals. It is our firm belief that experience from the previous editions of the exercise will be brought to bear in executing Exercise Crocodile Smile VI. The other parts of the country will benefit from the exercise like other states have in the past.

Secondly, we are joyous that the Army is including a cyber component that will track terrorists to their most recent hideout, which is online. We are confident in the cyber capabilities of the Army and its proficiency in deploying the same to counter emerging threats to Nigeria’s existence while also equipping itself for a future that is increasingly becoming digital. In this, we have specific demands to the Nigerian Army:

Several groups had in the past raised alarm about the activities of the cyber wing of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists who hide behind the unanimity of the cyberspace to promote terrorist propaganda. Exercise Crocodile Smile VI should decisively smoke out these persons and by implication cut off the cyber and propaganda support that has remained pivotal to Boko Haram’s ability to rebound each time it is dealt with.

The terrorist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) cyber unit should be disbanded in the course of this round of Exercise Crocodile Smile VI. The strength of many terrorist organizations and their criminal collaborators has been the taunting statement frequently issued by nebulous personalities, which we know to be a pseudo name or nom de guerre. The cyber component of the exercise should be able to unmask those that have been stoking dissension and hatred against the Nigerian state.

We have also seen an explosion in virtual payments and financing of questionable activities to destabilize Nigeria. As seen with the #EndSARS protesters who are being financed by multiple interests that are out to destroy Nigeria, Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are being used to fund the protests and also to pay for terrorists’ activities in the northeast. Other countries have robust policies for dealing with cryptocurrencies and we believe Exercise Crocodile Smile VI should trigger the momentum to evolve a policy to this effect. But as a stop-gap measure, the Nigerian Army should use the cyber component of the exercise to mitigate the damage being done to Nigeria by the use of cryptocurrencies, which are well-documented catalysts for crimes perpetrated from the dark web. They are a new threat to nations.

The Army should use the exercise to address the recent threats against Nigeria’s digital assets like the hacking of websites belonging to MDAs as part of the #EndSARS protest. While global hacktivist group, Anonymous has claimed responsibility, we believe that the instructions to hack these digital assets are from Nigeria here and the digital footprints that tie the hackers to those who issued the instruction would help unmask those responsible for them.

We further realize that another thing that is different from when the Army held past editions of the exercise is the presence of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We expect that the Army will not suspend its medical outreach on account of the pandemic. Rather, people need medical assistance now more than ever. The exercise should therefore not omit the well-cherished medical component from the exercise.

Meanwhile, we appeal to the Nigerian Army to impress on its troop the need to resist the provocation that they will naturally come across on this exercise. We state this from past instances of IPOB mounting propaganda against the Army and even having its fighters physically confronting soldiers for them to have multimedia documentation of supposed harsh handling of their situation by the military. The ongoing #EndSARS protests and its anticipated mutations in the weeks ahead will similarly provoke troops in other for them to accuse the government of the day of repression. The Army must avoid falling for this booby trap.

We call on all Nigerians particularly those in the south-west geo-political zone to support the Nigerian Army in the maintenance of internal security in the country. Nigerians must be wary and prepare for the expected negative criticism of the exercise by those who are afraid that the Army would end their reign of terror when the exercise is successfully conducted.

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Youths Confirm #EndSARS Protests Hijacked By Politicians, Anti-Nigeria Forces To Destabilize The Country

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Some youth leaders, social media influencers and non-governmental organisations have confirmed that the #EndSARS protests across the country were hijacked by politicians and anti-Nigeria forces to destabilise the nation.

The group, under the auspices of March4Nigeria movement, also vowed to support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari at a town hall meeting on Saturday in Abuja.

In a communique jointly signed by Olusegun Oloruntoba, Comrade Ibrahim Musa and Sunday Attah, its chairman, secretary and member respectively, the group said it drew its conclusion from participants who experienced significant violence and disruptions during the period.

According to the group, a circuit of internet fraudsters (Yahoo Boys), LGBTQ Community, owners of megachurches, the opposition and some international NGOs financed the protests while renowned clergymen, social media influencers and celebrities incited the populace.

Contrary to reports, however, the youths said the Federal Government was “responsive enough just as it was measured in being accommodating and tolerant of the protesters even in the face of unwarranted provocation of the state and law-abiding Nigerians”.

While urging the FG to initiate additional measures to address the terrorists’ infiltration and hijack of an initially peaceful protest, the group reaffirmed that there was no massacre anywhere in the country.

As part of its resolution, the youth appealed to the FG to actively track the implementation of the reforms agreed while also urging the #EndSARS protesters to halt the mass action.

Read full communique below:

OBSERVATIONS

Participants at the meeting recounted that Nigeria experienced significant violence and disruptions in October as a result of protests tagged #EndSARS by protesters. The protests originally began as demands for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery (SARS) unit of the Nigeria Police Force because of the serial cases of highhandedness, brutality and human right abuses by operatives of the unit. In response to a five-point demand from the protesters, which the government agreed to meet, SARS was disbanded with other measures being announced.

They recounted that the #EndSARS was subsequently highjacked by multiple interests that then continued to randomly shift the goalposts by altering the demands while also refusing to name representatives or leaders to dialogue with the government. It was noted that the refusal to name representatives or leaders for the protests was a red flag that should have alerted the Federal Government and the rest of the world to the dark intents of those that orchestrated crisis for Nigeria.

Participants revealed how the protests were well funded across multiple cities such that protesters were being transported to locations in addition to being fed with delicious and expensive meals. Those identified to have at various times financed the protests included: a circuit of internet fraudsters (Yahoo Boys), LGBTQ Community, owners of megachurches, the opposition and some international NGOs. Incitement was done by renowned clergymen, social media influencers, opposition leaders and celebrities. The protesters became belligerent and began obstructing major roads to cause discomfort to Nigerians and sabotage the economy.

It was noted that under yet to be fully comprehended circumstances, pandemonium occasioned by reported gunshots at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos state on October 20, 2020, was used as ground zero for the start of industrial-scale arson, looting and killing of innocent persons. The incident was also used to kick off a major international offensive against the country to force international sanctions.

In the aftermath of the Lekki incident, security personnel have been targeted, attacked and killed in addition to the more than N250 billion in damages while the true economic toll is projected to be in the region of N3 trillion. The protesters continued to insist that Mr President must address them while accusing the government of not being responsive.

It was also found out that the mob was not mindless as previously thought. A fugitive terrorist and leader of the proscribed terrorist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu actively coordinated the attacks on businesses while the leaders of the hit squads reported back to him.

This orgy of arson took place even though the protesters were never able to substantiate their claim of a massacre. After a night of misplaced and misdirected outrage, the nation woke up the following day to not find any corpse even when the protesters had alleged that 78 persons were killed; Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwoolu confirmed there were no casualties from the pandemonium; one of the instigators, Enough is Enough (EiE), recanted its earlier claim that CCTV cameras were sabotaged before the incident as it admitted what was removed from the plaza were plate number cameras that the operator removed for safekeeping upon learning that protesters were going to vandalize the place; the billboard that was turned off as a matter of business decision and not on the directive of the state as protesters had alleged; the entire claim of Lekki Toll Plaza massacre was a hoax choreographed by one Obianuju Catherine Udeh (DJ Switch).

The global outrage was heightened by the deployment of fake news that included sharing of pictures from movies and presenting them as causalities from the protests, publication of pictures of accident causalities and claiming they died in the protests, re-circulation of old media and claiming the incidents portrayed in them happened in the protests. Local and international media have fallen for these fake news items, especially on their online and social media platforms, without having the courtesy to apologize and make corrections when they found out that they misled their audiences. Furthermore, there has been a deliberate blackout on reporting the atrocities of the protesters as they loot and commit arson – where there is any report they are conveniently explained away as hoodlums that infiltrated the protests.

Several nations: The United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, the European Union and other countries have condemned Nigeria without getting the correct details of what transpired. The United Nations, African Union, International Criminal Court (ICC), Amnesty International and other organizations have similarly erred. US politicians, Joe Bidden, Hilary Clinton, members of US Congress, members of the UK Parliament, foreign celebrities amongst others have made interventions without the benefit of facts. The ignorance on the part of the above-identified was exacerbated by the international media organizations, like the CNN, which threw away journalistic ethics to act as channels for purveying fake news.

President Muhammadu Buhari has addressed the nation as a father. He has demonstrated that the government is saddened by the losses arising from the protests even as he confirmed that the demands of the protesters were already being met before the protests were hijacked by criminals. His speech assured that Nigeria will weather the storm. The many youth initiatives of his administration he revealed deserve to be supported and promoted.

NOTES

After exhaustive deliberations on the observations made, participants noted that:

The protests were hijacked by hoodlums, which appears to be the original plans of the organizers, who had refused to identify leaders or representatives to dialogue with the government.

The protests were exploited by cyber terrorists, bandits and clout chaser on the internet, who leveraged the anonymity provided by online platforms to incite unsuspecting youth to attack their own country.

The President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government was responsive enough just as it was measured in being accommodating and tolerant of the protesters even in the face of unwarranted provocation of the state and law-abiding Nigerians.

There was no massacre anywhere in Nigeria; a massacre would have been there for everyone to see as opposed to the situation where the protesters resorted to revisionism in their desperation to make their claim pass integrity test in the face of lacking evidence.

Federal Government needs to initiate additional measures to address the terrorists’ infiltration and hijack of an initially peaceful protest with a few to identifying and dismantling the IPOB cells that were used to trigger mayhem in Lagos state.

RESOLUTIONS

Participants at the #March4Nigeria Town Hall Meeting resolved that:

#March4Nigeria will actively track the implementation of the reforms agreed by the Federal Government and will make suggestions for modifications and expansions as may be necessary with an insistence that there must be timelines and milestones to ensure that the process is not stalled.

All protests relating to #EndSARS are suspended going forward while the youth embrace constructive engagements with the government to give time for the implementation of reforms. To ensure transparency, details of engagements with government will be shared real-time using the advantage of virtual platforms.

#March4Nigeria calls on the international community and all the international media that reported hoaxes about the #EndSARS protests to fact check and publish retractions to their misleading reports.

#March4Nigeria demands that the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, the European Union the United Nations, African Union, International Criminal Court (ICC), Amnesty International, Joe Bidden, Hilary Clinton, members of US Congress, members of the UK Parliament and foreign celebrities that had recriminated Nigeria should withdraw their misguided statements and stick to facts in the future.

#March4Nigeria will set up a support system to provide counselling, emotional support and treatment for #EndSARS protesters who may be suffering psychological disconnection from reality and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the wake of their failed attempt to sabotage Nigeria; DJ Switch will be prioritized for support owing to the tendencies she is exhibiting, which makes it necessary to recommend that she and others like her be placed on suicide watch.

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#EndSARS Protests: Patriotic Elders Rally Support For Buhari, Say Nigeria Must Come First Before Other Interests

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The Patriotic Elders Council (PEC) have thrown their weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that the country comes first before other interests.

The group’s backing, contained in a statement signed by Alhaji Ari Gwaska on Friday, follows public reactions that trailed the EndSARS protests across the country.

Recall that some governors had expressed maximum support for President Buhari amidst pressure from Nigerians and the international community.

The Northern States Governors’ Forum called on all Nigerians to resist what they described as enemies of the nation by supporting the president

And according to PEC, the arson, crime and violent dimension that accompanied the mass action is “condemnable, absurd and unacceptable to every sane and sensible Nigerian”.

The group said, ” there is no need to set the country on fire because the interests of a few elites are endangered or in jeopardy”.

The PEC further said elder statesmen such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo cheering the youths towards the path of destruction will face judgement someday.

The patriotic elders noted that youths are the emblem of the strength of any country and a symbol of its heritage.

The group, however, urged them to maintain total loyalty to Nigeria; protect and defend their only country as it is their only worthy asset.

Read the full statement below:

The ugly dimension of the on-going #EndSARS protests in some parts of the country over the unlawful acts of the Nigeria Police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) should disturb every patriotic Nigerian. We acknowledge the intricate abuses and unprofessional conducts of SARS over the years, precipitating the protests.

The Patriotic Elders Council (PEC) also immensely appreciates the endurance of Nigerians, particularly youths who constitute the bulk of our agile population, worse hit by the unlawful acts of Police brutality and extrajudicial killings as signposted by SARS operatives.  Nigerians deserve empathy and the anger is justified. We align with President Muhammadu Buhari and the youths that there is every need to address the abnormalities, restructure and reform the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) entirely.

By it, in the last few days, President Buhari has taken active steps in this direction in the wake of the #EndSARS to assuage the protesters and Nigerians in respect to the demands placed before the government. These include the immediate disbandment of SARS, the dismissal and commencement of prosecution of suspected erring SARS operatives and a directive to State Governors to constitute Judicial Panels of Inquiry for aggrieved Nigerians to make submissions of the rights abuses by SARS officials, with a promise to restructure and reform the NPF immediately.

However, despite these measures, the #EndSARS protests have refused to abate and unfortunately have become violent and bloody, especially in some Southern states. The killings, arsons, destructions, breach of the public peace, law and order, the brigandage and carnages have posed a serious threat to national cohesion and security.

The metamorphosis of the #EndSARS protests into areas alien and incompatible with the original reasons instigating the protests signifies a bad omen. It shows some vested political interests are sponsoring and fueling the mayhem in the country for devious reasons to achieve ulterior motives.

Nigeria generally has been volatile in the period preceding the 2019 general elections, and we all know, some non-state actors secretly plotted to inflict heavy violence and bloodshed on Nigerians. But God averted the doomsday and President Buhari acted proactively to maintain public peace, safety and security throughout the conduct of the elections.

We are conscious of the fact that some political actors defeated in the general elections have nursed a permanent grudge against the victors. It is also undeniable that several underground failed plots have been orchestrated by some political undertakers to make Nigeria ungovernable. It is stating the obvious.

Therefore, the transmutation of #EndSARS protests into violence and bloodshed, in apparent abuse of democratic liberties is gleaned from this prism. And the refusal of the protesters to listen to the voice of reason, in preference for killings and destructions of public and private assets of Nigerians have a strong cord to the existing disenchantments by unjustifiably disgruntled elements in the country.

There is no need to set the country on fire because the interests of a few elites are endangered or in jeopardy. The happenings in the country now are condemnable, absurd and unacceptable to every sane and sensible Nigerian. The fire we have ignited in the country and on ourselves cannot be left for government alone to extinguish. It is our collective responsibility to calm frayed nerves, right the perceived wrongs and ensure peace and security returns to our country.

This is not the right time to sit on the fence, make public inflammatory and inciting statements to embolden the protesters, hoodlums, hooligans and criminal elements to cause more harm and destructions. It smacks of beating the drums of war which will do no one any good. At such trying times, people look unto leaders, serving or past for direction and solace.

To this end, we find the public statements credited to former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and other elder statemen reckless, inciting and wayward. We are particularly piqued at Obasanjo’s irreligious fabrication of lies against President Buhari by accusing it of neglecting the youths, which has led to the agitations. Buhari is a youth-friendly President and there is abundant evidence everywhere in the various subsisting national youth empowerment schemes in the country.

Nothing can be so dishonest as that claim by a former Nigerian leader like Obasanjo.  If Nigeria has found itself at the crossroads now because of massive youth unemployment and frustrations, Obasanjo is a major culprit. When he served, the ex-President dubiously sold all public companies, industries and national assets to himself and cronies. He callously squandered Nigeria’s treasures and mortgaged the future.  It is uncharitable for the same leader to berate President Buhari who is struggling very hard to re-fix Nigeria and repair the destructions he caused while in office. To now incite protesting youths with such reckless and callous comments is an indication of a mockery of the same compatriots he feigns to speak for their interest. Obasanjo has the reputation of a spoiler and destroyer, but tacitly seeking to bolster youths to compromise national security is very unpatriotic and senseless.

Elder statesmen like Obasanjo and his likes, who are delightfully cheering the youths towards the path of destruction will face God’s judgement someday. And we believe the verdict would be harsh and history can never forgive them.

The incensed elders calling for war should have a rethink. And youths persuaded and goaded into destructive acts against their country and people should remember, they have no other country than Nigeria. PEC makes bold to reiterate that no nation survives a civil war twice. Nigerian youths must rise above the instincts of self-destruction.

PEC calls on protesting youths to sheathe the sword and embrace dialogue at all levels. We are pleading with our children to quit the streets. Youths are the emblem of the strength of any country and a symbol of its heritage.

Therefore, Nigerian youths must maintain total loyalty to Nigeria; protect and defend their only country.  It is their only worthy asset. War can never be a substitute for peace or any magnitude of frustration.  Those who are out to destroy Nigeria will be put to shame.

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CSG, Yoruba Youths Back Arewa Youths on National Unity, Peaceful Co-Existence

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The apex Yoruba youth group, Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide alongside the Coalition of Southern Group (CSG) have expressed support for the proposal by the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) to strengthen the national peaceful dialogue and unity.

In a statement signed Friday in Abuja by the President of Yoruba youths, Aare Oladotun Hassan, said there is need to urgently and collectively address the varying degrees of issues of mutual interests.

“While reiterating the issue of insecurity is most important matter on the table, while we see the hydraheaded challenges of FSARS, with much emphasis for its scrapping in the Southern Nigeria, based on recorded excessive highhandedness, serial extra judicial killings and wanton corruption, we must as well consider its positive vantages too in fighting the dreaded scourge of terrorism, banditry, cultism and other violent crimes in Nigeria.

“Hence, the need for a deliberate call for a National Security Dialogue on State of the nation, for we cannot afford to go back to the locusts days of street armed robbery and violent crimes.

“While withdeep heart of grieve, we commiserate with the families and friends of the heroes and martyrs of the struggle of #LekkiEnsarsMasacre.

“It goes to say that we seek out explanation from the Inspector General of Police, Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Defence Staff to jointly explain who authorized the monumental disaster of of 20-10-2020.

“With deep regret and disappointment, we eqaully condemn the lies of ‘No Casualty of loss of lives” from Governor Babajide Sanwolu of Lagos State, it indeed shows proven lack of empathy and understanding of the magnitudes of the offense against humanity.

“This is crystal clear genocide committed against harmless and peaceful protesters.

“It is high time we workout a best solution approach towards resolving the growing tide of violence and arsons, particularly within Southern regions, hence the need to join our voices with the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) for fundamental demands for police reforms and adequate funding.”

While expressing displeasure over what is described as misguided looting of shops and other ugly activities, the group said: “We are displeased with the invasion and removal of starf of office of Oba of Lagos and burning of the palace of Oba Elemoro in Ibeju Lekki by hoodlums who took advantage of the Endsars protest to wreck monumental havocs and irreparable attacks on our High courts, local government secretariats, police stations and Area ‘J’ Commands, mass destructions of government infrastructures across the country built with tax payers money.

“We therefore take a joint stand with our Northern friends onthe end insecurity campaign, as a matter of necessity, indeed we did all to avert this double jeopardy but yet the inevitable occurred.”

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