As part of its efforts to secure the country, the Nigerian Army is set to begin operation ‘Crocodile Smile VI’ from October 20 to December 31.

This was announced in a statement titled, ‘Nigerian army sets to commence exercise Crocodile Smile VI nationwide’, and signed by Acting Director Army Public Relations, Sagir Musa, on Saturday, October 17, 2020.

The exercise is coming at a time Nigerian youths are protesting against police brutality, extortion and extra-judicial killings.

For more than a week, the youths have been on the streets, blocking highways and calling on the federal government to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigeria Police Force infamous for human rights abuse and extra-judicial activities.

The protesting youths have also been calling on the government to reform the police among other demands.

Two weeks after the protest started on social media, it has spread to major cities in the country.

Although SARS has been dissolved, the Senate has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the demands of the protesting youths.

#EndSARS protesters in Lagos
#EndSARS protesters in Lagos

However, the army in its statement said the ‘Crocodile Smile VI’ will include fights against negative propaganda on social media.

The statement reads, “This year’s Exercise CROCODILE SMILE V1 is scheduled to commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020.

“The exercise is deliberately intended to be all-encompassing to include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace.

“This is the first-ever Cyberwarfare exercise to be conducted in the history of the African Armed Forces. Accordingly, the exercise will also include 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 Northeast, North Central and North Western parts of Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Army, once again, reassures all well-meaning Nigerians of its commitment to the sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria and urges members of the public for their support and understanding throughout the period of the exercise.”

The army first launched ‘Crocodile Smile’ in 2016 to address security in the south-south region.