Mixed reactions have trailed the announcement by the Nigerian Army, that it would commence its ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ exercise across the country.
The Army, on its official Twitter handle, said “This year’s Exercise Crocodile Smile VI is scheduled to commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020.”
Those who reacted to the announcement suspected that it was part of moves by the Federal Government to clamp down on EndSARS protesters nationwide.
Some however disagreed, maintaining that Crocodile Smile’ is an annual exercise of the Nigerian Army aimed at checking the spade of insecurity in the country.
They said instead of criticizing the exercise, Nigerians should rally round the military, especially now that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is determined to put an end to all forms of insecurity in Nigeria.
Founder of the Living Faith Church aka Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has lended his voice to the ongoing EndSARS protests across the country.
The pastor, who criticized government over the issue, warned against the shooting of youths protesting police brutality, extrajudicial killings and extortion, explaining that the youths have good justifications to protest.
While many lauded Oyedepo for speaking out, others however flayed him and described his response as rather reactionary, having been called out severally on social media for his stoic silence.
Getting EndSARS protesters on the table for negotiation on the way forward is proving to be a hard nut to crack, as they have bluntly rebuffed every entreaty to choose their representatives, with the latest being Banky W.
Just like every other celebrity who had come forward, Banky was also turned down, as many campaigners said that he cannot represent them. They said just like Sowore, Banky W is a politician who cannot speak on their behalf.
Although the musician didn’t come out seeking their approval for representation, he only posted on his Twitter handle a link to an online nomination form for the youths to pick people who would represent them at the judicial panel set up by the Lagos State Government.
After going off briefly on the social media radar, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, made a bold appearance on the trends.
His coming up on the trend was not unconnected with the statement he made on Saturday when he featured on a late-night Nigeria Television Authority news programme, “Weekend File”. The minister stated that the EndSARS protest has been hijacked by anarchists and therefore government would not allow the country to be thrown into chaos.
Mohammed’s position that the government has met all demands of the protesters was quickly countered by many of the campaigners on social media. They said the minister’s statement was a clear indication that the government was planning to unleash the security forces on protesters.
They, however, vowed to continue with the protest until all their demands were practically implemented.
The aspiration of former governor of Anambra, Mr Peter Obi, to take residency at the Aso Rock in 2023 appears to be hanging on the balance, as EndSARS protesters have redirected their anger on him and questioned his political uprightness.
The aggrieved campaigners said that Obi should be cancelled from the 2023 political calculations because he was the governor when the Awkuzu SARS unit in Anambra became notorious and he did nothing about it. They accused him of being part and parcel of those who contributed to a dysfunctional Nigeria.
President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamilla, have called for an end to the EndSARS protests across the country.
The leadership of the National Assembly made the call after meeting behind closed-doors with President Muhammadu Buhari today.
But reacting to the call on social media, some Nigerians said that what the government was doing to address protesters demands were merely cosmetic. They argued that any meaningful reform in the Police would first of all begin with the removal of the Inspector General of Police to pave way for the needed transparency in the process.
Based on this, they asked the Senate President to advise the government on the need to remove the Police chief if truly it is committed to the reforms agreed upon.
Works and Housing Minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola, trended on social media following approval for the reopening of Eko, Marina Bridges on Monday 19 October 2020.
The minister gave the directive as the ministry was expected to have concluded the first phase of repair works on the bridges in Lagos by mid-night on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have expressed relief, hoping the reopening of the roads would ameliorate the plight of commuters and ease congestion on that axis.