ABUJA / LAGOS: The Nigerian military will begin a two-month nationwide exercise, she said on Saturday, while denying the move was part of any security response to recent widespread protests against alleged police brutality.
Operation Crocodile Smile will take place across the country from Oct. 20 to Dec. 31, the first time the annual exercise, typically focused in the Delta region, will take place nationally, Musa said.
The move comes just days after the military said it was ready to step in and restore order, but Musa said in a statement that the exercise “has nothing to do with a legal protest under whatever pretext it may be “.
Nigerians demanding an end to the Special Anti-Theft Squad (SARS) police unit and pushing for reforms and accountability have rallied across the country.
The army issued a statement on Wednesday warning what it called “subversive and troublemaker elements” that it was “ready to fully support civilian authority in any capacity to maintain the public order and deal with any situation decisively ”.
Protesters use Twitter and the hashtag #EndSars to post photos and videos showing alleged police brutality. Social media is also a hub for organizing protests and Nigerians are using it to collect money and food to feed protesters and support those arrested.
Additionally, a group calling themselves Anonymous claimed to have hacked various government websites in recent days and warned that they would continue to hack government websites and Twitter accounts in order to help the #EndSars movement.
“The military hereby calls upon all law-abiding Nigerians to conduct their legal activities without hindrance as the exercise has nothing to do with the ENDSARS protest, but an annual event hosted by (the military) in his efforts to ensure the safety and security of Nigeria and his country. citizens, ”Musa said in a statement.
Government officials did not respond to requests for comment on the website hijacking, and Reuters could not independently confirm the allegations. However, Musa said the exercise would include computer warfare training for the first time.
“The exercise is deliberately intended to be comprehensive and to include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in social media and cyberspace,” Musa said in the statement.
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