The Nigerian Army commenced a military exercise tagged ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ in the South West few days ago. A major feature of the exercise is its medical outreach which provides locals the opportunity to access medical care pro bono.


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is greatly excited by this initiative. It is profound, patriotic and chivalrous.


Apart from the brilliant idea of providing medical care for the local population, Operation Crocodile Smile is capable of reducing the rate of crime in the South West. It should be noted that the South East, which is notorious for its high crime rate reportedly became calm few weeks after the commencement of Operation Python Dance by the Nigerian Army.


These military exercises are necessary once in a while in view of the proliferation of criminal activities in the country. Armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, etc remain on high profile. But the general state of insecurity became pronounced with the threat of secession made by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The seizure of several weapons actually raised the alert level to red.


This year alone, 661 pump action guns were confiscated by the Nigerian customs on January 30, 2017. 440 guns illegally imported from Turkey were discovered by customs on May 24. Another 1,100 were recovered on September 11 while 470 pump action guns were seized on September 21. More powerful weapons like machine guns and RPGs were also seized at the border.


It is normal for these seizures to give the authorities and the discerning public cause for serious concern and the volatile situation altogether constituted the raison d’etre for military exercises like Operations Python Dance and Crocodile Smile.


MURIC commends the Nigerian Army for this proactive measure. Arrogant force will not bow until counter-force surfaces. We also laud the Federal government (FG) for deeming it fit to approve the military exercises. It is well-known that a weak government cannot protect innocent citizens. Equally credit-worthy is the Nigerian chief of customs, Ahmed Ali. The brilliant performance of the customs department during his tenure can be traced to his high level of discipline. The importers of those dangerous weapons could have had their way but for his tough stance.


We are however deeply perturbed by the irrational outcry of a few disgruntled elements who have condemned the exercises. The most noteworthy is the latest call on Yorubas to boycott the medical outreach in Operation Crocodile Smile. We reject this demand. It is not only infantile but also irresponsible. This request is sadistic and anti-people in view of the situation of medical facilities in the country as well as the poverty level among the populace. Anyone who asks the poor masses to boycott a medical outreach where they can have access to free medicare is out of touch with reality. It is only criminals and anarchists who will object to a military exercise designed to keep kidnappers and armed robbers at bay.


Finally, we charge Nigerians in general and the Yoruba in particular, to give full cooperation to soldiers engaged in the exercise. It is for our safety. The citizenry must be security conscious. Kidnapping is alien to Nigerian culture and everything necessary must be done to bring this menace to a halt. We urge the Nigerian Army to sustain the exercise until criminals find something more productive to do. We suggest a quarterly repeat until irredentists and criminals are forced out of business.


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


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