Soldiers, youths may clash as army rolls out Crocodile Smile Tuesday – Newstrends
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Soldiers, youths may clash as army rolls out Crocodile Smile Tuesday

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The stage may be set for another showdown between the youth and security agents, this time round with the military, as the Nigerian Army has announced its intention to launch Exercise Crocodile Smile IV on Tuesday.

A statement signed by the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, which was made available to journalists on Saturday, said the operation would commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020.

This is coming when youths protesting in many parts of the country against police brutality and demanding an end to all forms of injustice in the last two weeks are yet to be pacified to stop the street demonstration and blocking of vital roads and operational areas.

There were hints last week that the military might be called upon to halt the street protests which had been causing hours of gridlock and disruption to socio-economic activities in Lagos, Abuja and other major cities in the country.

The statement said, “The Nigerian Army is set to start its annual Exercise Crocodile Smile which is traditionally conducted in the last quarter of the year. 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 exercise 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 North-East, 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.”

But a former senator and rights activist, Shehu Sani, said it was a dangerous coincidence that the Army’s operation would be staged when the youth were still protesting.

A group of civil societies, in a reaction to the issue, has also warned against drafting in the soldiers to quell the peaceful protests by the youth.

The group made up of 16 societies said in a statement released in Abuja on Saturday that such action posed a serious threat to the peace of the society.

The coalition said, “We reject in its entirety the move to draft in the military to quell the protests, even where there has been no violent conduct on the part of protesters.

“The military should remain in their barracks and at their duty posts, defending the territorial integrity of the country, and not deployed in a dangerous anti-people and anti-democratic operation to crush a people who are exercising their right to freedom of association, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly.”

Those that are part of the group are listed as the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa), Enough is Enough (EIE), Partners for Electoral Reform, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), YIAGA Africa, Global Rights, among others.

Sani, in a tweet, warned that “the Army should not intervene to crush peaceful protesters,” adding that “we have enough bandits and insurgents in our forests and deserts that need their attention.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu appoints new Head of Service

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Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack

BREAKING: Tinubu appoints new Head of Service

President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), with effect from August 14, 2024.

According to a statement by Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, on Wednesday night, Mrs. Walson-Jack was appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and had served in several Ministries.

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“The new appointee will take over from the incumbent Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, who is due to retire on August 13, 2024.

“President Tinubu, while thanking the outgoing Head of Service for her stewardship, tasks the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation,” he added.

BREAKING: Tinubu appoints new Head of Service

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Gov Zulum begs Nigerians not to stage nationwide protests

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Borno State governor, Babagana Umara Zulum

Gov Zulum begs Nigerians not to stage nationwide protests

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has appealed to residents of Borno and Nigerians to refrain from participating in the proposed nationwide protests slated for next month.

During a stakeholders’ town hall meeting held at the Government House in Maiduguri on Wednesday, Zulum emphasized the importance of engaging in constructive dialogue instead of protests, which he believes may lead to violence and distractions. He highlighted the severe impact of the 13-year insurgency conflicts on the state and noted that protests would not be the best approach to maintaining the relative peace currently being enjoyed in Borno.

“Any break of law and order will be a disaster for us. I am appealing to the people, not only of Borno State but all Nigerians, to shun any protests that will bring hardship to Nigerians. Let us engage in positive dialogues. The Federal and state governments are doing everything possible to reduce the hardships people face in Nigeria,” Zulum said.

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He stated, “The Government of Borno State and its people have been experiencing insurgency for the past 13 years, but now peace has gradually returned to Borno State, and we must maintain this peace.”

Zulum expressed satisfaction that many stakeholders had committed not to join the protests and assured that the government of Borno State would follow up to ensure these commitments are upheld.

The town hall meeting was attended by heads of security agencies, traditional rulers, the Network of Civil Society Organizations, Young Peace Advocates, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, and the Nigerian Bar Association. Other attendees included representatives from the Civilian Joint Task Force, the Christian Association of Nigeria, Jammatul Nasir Islam, student and youth groups, women’s groups, traders, people living with disabilities, and the Nigeria Labour Congress.

Gov Zulum begs Nigerians not to stage nationwide protests

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401 Osun LG caretaker leaders quit after S’Court judgment

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401 Osun LG caretaker leaders quit after S’Court judgment

Four hundred and one chairmen and members of caretaker committees running Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas in Osun State have all resigned their positions.

Those that resigned include; 69 caretaker chairmen and 332 caretaker members drawn from each of the 332 wards in the state.

Letters of resignation of the chairmen circulated on social media on Wednesday but a clear reason behind their resignation was not given.

In one of the letters seen by PUNCH, the caretaker chairman of Odo-Otin local government area, Okuku, Adewale Adeyinka, said he was quitting office to pursue other opportunities to serve his people.

The letter addressed to Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, dated July 17, 2024, partly read,  “It is with a sense of duty and respect for our democratic principles that I write to tender my resignation from my position as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee for Odo-Otin Local Government, effective immediately.

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“As I move on to pursue further opportunities to serve my people, I want to assure you that the good work we have started will not end.

“I remain committed to supporting the growth and development of Odo-Otin Local Government in any capacity I can.”

When contacted for comment on Wednesday, the immediate past chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria in Osun State, Sarafadeen Awotunde, said all the 69 caretaker chairmen and 332 members drawn from different wards across the state have resigned their positions since the Supreme Court has declared them as illegal office occupants.

Asked to confirm the resignation of the 332 caretaker members and the chairmen, Awotunde said, “Since we already called them caretaker, I don’t think there is any appropriate word to use than that they resigned. Nobody sacked them.

“Caretakers have temporary time to spend. It means their time is over. If you look at it critically, you will see that the Supreme Court has given a verdict. So whatever is called caretaker now is illegal. So, there is nothing like a caretaker in Nigeria again.”

In Osun State, there are 30 local government areas, 32 local council development authorities, 6 area councils and one administrative office.

The last set of caretaker committee chairmen and members were appointed by Adeleke in August 2023 and their tenure of office was extended by 6 months in February 2024.

401 Osun LG caretaker leaders quit after S’Court judgment

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