The militarization of Nigerian democracy is set to be intensified under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari, a former Army general, as the Nigerian Army on Tuesday announced that it will flag off Exercise CROCODILE SMILE II on Friday, October 13, 2017.
This was disclosed by a statement signed by Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, Director Army Public Relations.
Read the statement below:
The Exercise, set to span across 3 Divisions of the Nigerian Army (2, 6 and 81 Divisions), is in line with the 2017 Training Directives which aims at training troops in the conduct of Internal Security Operations in aid of Civil Authorities across the various formations’ areas of responsibilities, based on Constitutional provisions.
It will be recalled that last year, between November and December 2016, Exercise CROCODILE SMILE I was conducted within the Niger Delta States to curtail prevailing security challenges then. These challenges include illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping and militancy amongst others. Exercise CROCODILE SMILE II is specifically designed to further the gains and consolidate on the successes of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE I. Additionally, with the operationalization of 6 Division Nigerian Army, earlier in the year, the need to exercise troops in an amphibious environment makes it expedient to hold Exercise CROCODILE SMILE II. Moreover, this exercise will complement the on-going Exercise EGWU EKE II in the South-Eastern part of the country.
Let us not be quick to forget the scenario in which these exercises are carried out. EGWU EKE II became expedient due to the mindless assassinations (even in religious places), attack on security personnel, theft of weapons, armed banditry, kidnapping and cultism, among other security challenges. In a similar vein, security challenges in the South West and Niger Delta geo-political regions such as illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, cultism, kidnapping, militancy and other challenges are becoming rampant.
The need for troops to sharpen their skills to cope with these security challenges within the 2, 6 and 81 Divisions’ Area of Responsibilities calls for the conduct of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE II. Also, in actualizing the Chief of Army Staff’s vision, which is to ‘To have a Professionally Responsive Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles’, accentuates the call for the conduct of this exercise in conjunction with sister services and other security agencies. This exercise will therefore be conducted with the involvement of other security agencies such as the Nigerian Police and Nigeria Security, Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Customs Service and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, just to mention a few.
EXERCISE CROCODILE SMILE II is also conceptualized to leverage on real time intelligence to curtail insecurity, thereby fulfilling both training and operational objectives. Accordingly, Exercise Headquarters would be established in the field to facilitate open communication between members of the public and exercising troops. Emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, road blocks, check points and other amphibious operations. Community support activities such as medical outreaches will also feature prominently during the Exercise.
In this regard, members of the public are enjoined not to panic on seeing the movement of military equipment and troops to staging areas as their safety and well-being is guaranteed at all times. The public is also requested to remain vigilant, security conscious and report suspected criminals who will likely flee the military exercise areas to find safe haven among communities. Contact phone numbers of all Brigade Commanders in the exercise areas would be made public in addition to the Nigerian Army short code Information and call Centre 193. You are please requested to disseminate this information to the public through your medium.
Nigerian troops are also occupying the South East under the guise of OPERATION PYTHON DANCE II. Civil societies accuse the military of human rights violations in that region.
The Indigenous People of Biafra, a group agitating for secession, also accuse the Nigerian military of killing unarmed civilians in its python dance.
They allege that 22 of its unarmed members were massacred during the military invasion of the country home of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu in Afaraukwu, Abia State.
Kanu and his aged parents are still missing since that raid. IPOB allege that they were abducted by soldiers.