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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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Zainab Alli Flags Off Campaign Against Gender Based Violence In Otukpo

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As the global campaign against Gender Based Violence (GBV) intensifies, Mrs. Zainab Alli, wife of the Executive Chairman of Otukpo Local Government, Rt. Hon. George Alli, on Friday 4th December 2020, flagged off the campaign in Otukpo.

This was according to a press statement signed by Desmond Oogwu , Special Adviser Media and Gender Affairs.

Mrs Zainab Alli, thanked the First Lady of Benue State, Mrs. Eunice Ortom Ph.D, for throwing her weight behind the campaign agaisnt gender based violence.

Also speaking to women and mothers, drawn mostly from the 13 wards of Otukpo Local Government Council at the Otukpo LG secretariat,   Mrs. Alli further said, “the fight against Gender Based Violence has become more necessary due to the increasing rate of violence against women and the girl child being urging mothers to speak up”.

She said, “As mothers and women, all of you seated here have either been victims of one violent crimes against women at one time or another or you know some someone who was a victim. I urge you all to speak up and liberate someone from hell on earth. Even house helps who are sometimes male or femaile, suffers abuses in different homes too”.

She said the media is replete with stories of gender based violence at home or in the streets and that the greatest weapon of the perpetrators is the silence of mothers. The Chairman’s wife also took the advocacy to St. Monica Girls Secondary where she told the students not to let anyone touch their sensitive body part, adding that should anybody touch them unnecessarily they should raise a cry.

Also, a girls child advocate and human Rights Activist, Mrs. Julie Ooja Okoh, narrated and gave vivid accounts of confrontations with rapists and child molesters as she decried the long and difficult process it takes in order to secure justice for victims against offenders.
“This battle must be fought and we will continue to fight until we win. Even if I die in the process, I don’t care. Another person will continue from where I stopped. Mothers, you have to speak up. Violence against women should never be tolerated as part of culture; it is not. Our mothers and the judiciary are our headache”, she lamented.

Also, another advocate, Mrs. Ene Lech, encouraged women and girls to develop themselves and should always report anybody, including their fathers to the appropriate authorities whenever someone behaves inappropriately around them.

The first Lady of Benue State, Dr Mrs. Eunice Ortom, ably represented by Mr. Tine Agenor, Coordinator, ESLF, in his address remarked that it not only women who suffers domestic violence. He said even men and boys suffer different forms of abuses too. He said people should make the comfort a place of comfort for both the male and the female child.

The Counselor Representing Ewulo ward at the Otukpo Legislative Assembly, also advised the students to take their studies seriously and and should never loose sight of their intended future. The Principal of St. Monica Secondary School, Rev. Sister. Grcae Adikwu thanked the guest for the visit to the school and pray God to grant the team safe trip back to their various destination.

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Nigeria Army Records Success Neutralize Bandits Also Recover Arms

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The Nigeria Army on Friday said scores of bandits were neutralized between 12 to 29 of November, 2020 following activities of Troops of Operation Sahel Sanity in the Northwest Zone.

This was contained in a press statement issued by the acting director, defence media operations, Brig-Gen. Benard Onyeuko.

 11 ILLEGAL MINERS ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT KADAURI AREA ON 22 NOVEMBER 2020
11 ILLEGAL MINERS ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT KADAURI AREA ON 22 NOVEMBER 2020

According to him, on 15 November 2020, gallant troops while conducting routine night patrol came in contact with armed bandits at Yar Tasha Village in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State. On sighting the troops advance, the criminals immediately started firing sporadically but the troops displayed tactical superiority, closed in and overpowered the bandits with overwhelming firepower.

In the process 3 of the bandits were neutralized, 3 AK-47 rifles with 3 magazines loaded with live rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition were recovered by the troops. Some of the bandits however, managed to escape by the skin of their teeth with varying degrees of injuries.

CATTLE RECOVERED BY TROOPS DURING RAID OPERATION ON CATTLE RUSTLERS HIDEOUT AT DANKORI VILLAGE ON 24 NOVEMBER 2020
CATTLE RECOVERED BY TROOPS DURING RAID OPERATION ON CATTLE RUSTLERS HIDEOUT AT DANKORI VILLAGE ON 24 NOVEMBER 2020

Similarly, on 16 November 2020, the gallant troops while acting on credible intelligence about kidnappers activities at Garin Arawa in Tangaza LGA of Sokoto State, swiftly moved to the area and made contact with the criminals. During the encounter, the gallant troops neutralized one of the kidnappers as others escaped in disarray into the bushes owing to troops superior fighting prowess. In the aftermath of the encounter, troops recovered one AK-47 Rifle mounted with a magazine and one motorcycle.

Also in another development, on 21 November 2020, troops conducted a robust clearance Operation and assaulted bandits enclaves at Mararaban Kawaye and Gobirawa villages in Safana LGA of Katsina State respectively.

The gallant troops encountered initial resistance at Gobirawa but successfully over-powered the bandits. In the aftermath of the encounter, 6 bandits were neutralized while 4 AK-47 Rifles, 3 Dane guns and 2 motorcycles were captured. Troops continue to crackdown on the nefarious activities of the bandits and other criminal elements in the general area.

Furthermore, on 21 November 2020, troops acting on timely information smashed a bandit’s syndicate hideout at Galadi village in Shinkafi LGA of Zamfara State. During the operation, 2 bandits were neutralized. A meticulous cordon and search by the troops led to the recovery of 2 AK-47 Rifles in the hideout.

 SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATORS ABDULMUMINI MAIDOKA, LAWAL ABDULLAHI AND SANUSI ABDULLAHI ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT MAJAFA VILLAGE ON 12 NOVEMBER 2020
SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATORS ABDULMUMINI MAIDOKA, LAWAL ABDULLAHI AND SANUSI ABDULLAHI ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT MAJAFA VILLAGE ON 12 NOVEMBER 2020

In the same vain, on 22 November 2020, troops conducting farm patrol along Gidan Ruwa axis of Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State, came into contact with some marauding bandits. On sighting the advancing troops, the suspects fired sporadically in an attempt to escape. Nevertheless the resilient troops pursued them with heavy volume of fire leading to the neutralization of one of the escaping bandits and recovering of one AK-47 Rifle loaded with 29 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition in the process.

Accordingly, in other operations conducted, on 12 November 2020, troops deployed at Forward Operation Base Faskari during a routine patrol arrested 2 suspected bandits’ collaborators named Lawal Madawaki and Hassan Ali at Gobirawa village in Faskari LGA of Katsina State. Furthermore on 13 November 2020, troops acting on credible Information arrested 3 suspected bandits’ collaborators named Abdulmumini Maidoka, Lawal Abdullahi and Sanusi Abdullahi at Majafa village in Kankara LGA of Katsina State. Suspects were apprehended in connection with alleged involvement in banditry activities in the general area.

Additionally, troops during a raid operation at an identified bandits associates’ hideout at Maikano village in Jibia LGA of Katsina State arrested 2 suspects named Lawal Danladi and Rane Bello.

 2 AK-47 RIFLES MOUNTED WITH MAGAZINES RECOVERED BY TROOPS DURING RAID OPERATION  AT GALADI VILLAGEN ON 21 NOVEMBER 2020
2 AK-47 RIFLES MOUNTED WITH MAGAZINES RECOVERED BY TROOPS DURING RAID OPERATION AT GALADI VILLAGEN ON 21 NOVEMBER 2020

Equally, on same day, troops acting on a tip off arrested a suspected bandits collaborator named Bello Ardo at Yargoje in Kankara LGA of Katsina State. Suspect was arrested following credible Information about his unwholesome activities with suspected bandits in the area.

 ARMED BANDIT NEUTRALIZED BY TROOPS DURING CLEARANCE OPERATION AT GOBIRAWA VILLAGE ON 21 NOVEMBER 2020
ARMED BANDIT NEUTRALIZED BY TROOPS DURING CLEARANCE OPERATION AT GOBIRAWA VILLAGE ON 21 NOVEMBER 2020

In another development, on 22 November 2020, troops raided an illegal mining site at Kadauri area in Maru LGA of Zamfara State and arrested 11 suspected illegal miners. Furthermore, on 24 November 2020, following credible information, troops busted a cattle rustlers camp at Dankori village in Mani LGA of Katsina State leading to the arrest of 3 suspected cattle rustlers while 300 cows were also recovered at the scene.

Similarly, on 28 November 2020, troops while on routine border patrol intercepted and apprehended 4 suspected armed robbers dressed in military camouflage inside a Honda vehicle at Macrine village in Yelwa LGA of Kebbi State. All arrested suspects have been handed over to appropriate authorities for prosecution.

 ONE OF THE BANDITS NEUTRALIZED BY TROOPS DURING CLEARANCE OPERATION AT GOBIRAWA VILLAGE ON 21 NOVEMBER 2020
ONE OF THE BANDITS NEUTRALIZED BY TROOPS DURING CLEARANCE OPERATION AT GOBIRAWA VILLAGE ON 21 NOVEMBER 2020

He said in summary, in all the operations conducted between the period 12 – 29 November 2020, 12 armed bandits were neutralized, 11 AK-47 Rifles and 3 Dane guns were captured. Furthermore, 8 suspected bandits collaborators and 11 illegal miners were arrested. Equally 4 suspected armed robbers and 3 cattle rustlers were nabbed by troops while 300 cows were recovered during the operations.

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Insurgency: Buratai Harps On Collective Action, Citizen’s Participation

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, says a collective effort from citizens is required to put an end to the insurgency in the North-East.

According to the Army chief, it would take the combined actions of both civilians and the military to win the war against terrorism.

Buratai said this on his verified Facebook page on Tuesday.

He wrote, “There is general misunderstanding of what insurgency and terrorism entail. There is likelihood of terrorism persisting in Nigeria for another 20 years. It only depends on the level of escalation and the appropriate responses by all stakeholders both civil and military authorities.

“Also by both local and international actors. Citizens’ responsibility is equally important and imperative. All must cooperate to contain the lingering insecurity. Let there be collective action and responsibility.”

Similarly, former Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof Usman Yusuf insisted that the security situation in the country calls for collective efforts from all Nigerians.

Speaking with Arise News on Wednesday, Yusuf said, “The government and all Nigerians must agree that things are not working and the government must involve the people . The way security is done in this country is that things come from Abuja without involving people. We are in big trouble, the insecurity in this country has increased in recent times with killing of people, raping our women, cattle being rustled, and villages burnt. Its high time the federal government puts this nation on war footing and mobilise every body”.

Yusuf also suggested that communities and the military should train the youths to fight against killings, kidnapping and banditry.

“No nation can call itself secure if it does not have control of it’s airspace, waterways and highways and forests,” he said.

“We cannot be secure and will only be deluding ourselves if we think things will change and if we should continue like this. Everybody must sit up and know that security is not for the government and military alone but ours. I have friends in the United States of America who are from Somalia who call me and say they are worried about Nigeria because this is the way Somalia started and look at where we are today.

“ When we speak, it’s not that we are against the government, we brought them in, and they must do what we ask. If government doesn’t protect us, then it’s of no good to us. I call on every Nigerian to speak up”.

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