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Military should remain in barracks till protests end, group tells FG

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This is even as another coalition of labour and civil society groups also cautioned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai against facing the International Criminal Court, ICC, should any #EndSARS protester be killed by the military.

On the heels of the on-going nationwide protests, a coalition of civil society organizations yesterday called on the Federal Government to prevail on the Nigerian Army to suspend its planned ‘Operation Crocodile Smile VI’.

The activists spoke on a day Osun State governor, Gboyega Oyetola, dismissed insinuations that his convoy was attacked by #EndSARS protesters, attributing the attack to those he described as thugs.

Still on the same issue, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, argued yesterday that the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, would not end police brutality in the country, noting that the development was a sign of a failing state.

Speaking against the backdrop of the protests in Abuja, the over 30 CSOs, including Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, Enough is Enough and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, condemned the military exercise as unacceptable, alleging it was designed to crush the civil protests.

The Army had said it would commence Exercise Crocodile Smile VI, which is usually conducted annually to checkmate the activities of criminals across the country during the ember months.

It noted that this time, the military operation which would run from October 20 to December 31, would carry out cyber warfare operations to counter negative propaganda by criminal gangs and groups in social media and across the cyberspace.

CSOs warn Army

But the CSOs unanimously warned that the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI would only serve to  exacerbate the distrust of citizens  and lack of confidence in the state and its institutions.

So, they urged the military to withdraw the operation and remain in their barracks to defend the territorial integrity of the country until the #EndSARS protests abated.

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