#EndSARS: Army says "Operation Crocodile Smile” not for protesters, NECO postpones exam, youths block CBN head office

The Nigerian Army has said the “Operation Crocodile Smile” which begins on Tuesday has nothing to do with the ongoing protest against bad governance.

In a statement on Sunday, army spokesman, Musa Sagir, said it is wrong to say the exercise is targeted #EndSARS protesters who are out in major cities across the country.

Sagir said the army has been professional since the protest started “nearly two weeks ago”.

“The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to some social media stuff wrongfully condemning the Army and its Leadership over the announcement of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE VI particularly the Cyber Warfare Component of the Exercise. This year’s Exercise CROCODILE SMILE is scheduled to commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020 has no relationship with any lawful protest under any guise whatsoever,” the statement read.

“For the records, Exercise CROCODILE SMILE is a yearly exercise in the NA Calendar/Forecast of Events which traditionally holds from October to December of each year.

“Thus, to now insinuate that it is an exercise meant to stifle the ongoing ENDSARS protest is to say the least highly misinformed. Exercise CROCODILE SMILE VI has nothing to do with the ongoing protest and the NA has never been involved in the ongoing protest in any form whatsoever. So far, the army has acted professionally since the civil protest started over two weeks ago.

“The army hereby enjoins all law abiding Nigerians to go about their lawful activities unhindered as the Exercise has nothing to do with ENDSARS protest, but a yearly event set out to train NA officers and soldiers in its efforts to ensuring safety and security of Nigeria and her citizens.”

Also, the National Examination Council (NECO) has postponed an exam scheduled to begin on October 19, 2020, over the #EndSARS protests.

In a statement on Sunday, Azeez Sani, NECO’s head of information and public relations division, said the examination will now start on November 16.

Sani said the move was consequent upon effect of the demonstrations against excesses of the Nigerian police which have so far grinded several activities to a halt.

“This is to inform the general public and especially candidates that the National Examinations Council (NECO) has been constrained to reschedule the Paper I Computer Studies Practical’s earlier scheduled to take place on Monday, October 19, 2020, 10am- 1pm. The examination of this paper will now hold on Monday, November 16, 2020, 10am-1 pm,” the statement read.

“This unforeseen incident has been caused by the ENDSARS protest that blocked the free movement of transport at the city entrance gate Benin.

“The NECO delivery truck had left its take-off point well in advance two days earlier to deliver examination materials to some states and has been held up in the blockage since then.

“The council wishes to assure all stakeholders and the general public that the affected examination materials have been retrieved intact and are in the custody of NECO’s vault.”

NECO expressed regret over the inconveniences its directive would likely have on stakeholders, adding that the measure was necessary  that to maintain the integrity and security of examination procedures.

Sani said the move was consequent upon effect of the demonstrations against excesses of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) which have so far grinded several activities to a halt.

Meanwhile, protesters on Sunday blocked the two entrances of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) head office in Abuja.

Chanting anti-government songs and wielding different placards, the protester disrupted activities at the nation’s apex bank on Monday.

The protesters packed vehicles in front of the main gate of the CBN headquarters, blocking movement in and out of the premises and from connecting roads.

While hundreds of the protesters were in front of the building, some of them  also camped on the road by the rear exit of the building.

With music blaring from loudspeakers at the premises, some of them vowed to spend the night there.

Security operatives guarding the building were on standby in case of any break out of violence.

The #EndSARS protests which initially started as a result of the excesses of the now disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) has expanded its advocacy to police brutality, extortions, and bad governance in Nigeria.

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