The ongoing #EndSARS metamorphosed for a total haul in the Nigeria police system into a call for revolutionary change. The wanton corruption and dire need in the improvement in governance and standard of living of citizens gradually became a focus for the protests.
The youths, who became tired of years of neglect, cited infrastructural changes such as good roads, electrical power, security and health issues. Unfortunately, those in the helm of power saw the protests in a different light. Instead of the messages the youths drummed loud, they saw the protest as sponsored by cyber criminals and political opponents who, they claimed, have sought the sole intent of destabilizing the federal government.
This point of view is loudly echoed in the response of the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, who announced that this year’s Operation Crocodile Smile would hold between October 20 and December 31. The statement said, “The exercise is deliberately intended to be all-encompassing and will include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda on social media and across cyberspace. This is the first-ever cyber warfare exercise to be conducted in the history of the armed forces.
“Accordingly, the exercise will also include a positive identification component aimed at identifying Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from the North-East and other parts of the country as a result of the ongoing operations in the various theatres of operations, especially in the North-East, North Central and North West.”
Musa rounded off assuring that the army was committed to the sustenance of peace and security in the country and asked members of the public for support throughout the period of the exercise. He has emphasized that the army has nothing to do with the #EndSARS protest.
According to a SaharaReporters’ report, Colonel Sagir Musa had earlier labelled the protesters as subversive elements and trouble makers.
The army also said the Nigerian youth are anti-democratic forces and agents of disunity working against the country.
The statement reads, “The Nigerian Army wishes to reassure law-abiding citizens that it is highly committed to the sustenance of peace, security and defence of democracy in Nigeria. As a responsible and law-abiding organisation, the Nigerian Army reaffirms its unalloyed loyalty and commitment to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the constitution of the country.’
Comparing these statements from the Nigerian Army, one is compelled to ask, “When crocodiles shed tears, do they smile?”
Crocodiles do indeed shed tears. Biologically speaking, these tears contain proteins and minerals which help keep the eye clean and lubricate the nictitating membrane. Apparently, nature has given the crocodile a permanent smile which doesn’t help to douze the killer look on this dangerous animal.
The allegory is apt. Thanks to the Nigerian army for a befitting pictorial representation of the present government: OPERATION CROCODILE SMILE. More like, crocodile tears and smile.
Between October 27 and 30, 2018, it was reported that “protesters from the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), a Shiite religious organization led by the pro-Iranian Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, clashed with security services in and around Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The IMN reported that Nigerian security services had killed at least forty of its members during the marches.”
Despite warnings to the government not to get the army involved, there are reports of the presence of the Nigerian army in the Capital Territory, Abuja. It is obvious that if the army gets involved in any form of extrajudicial killings of members of the protesters the repercussions for the government will be monumental as Buhari will not be able to smile, neither would crocodile tears have any effect.