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Rivers Govt Exempts Primary From October 5 Schools Resumption

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From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Government has announced the reopening of all schools in the state with effect from October 5, this year, excluding primary schools.

The State Executive Council approved the reopening of the schools during emergency session at the weekend presided over by the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, at Government House, Port Harcourt.

The Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku made the announcement while briefing journalists at the end of the meeting.

According to Prof Ebeku, all Secondary Schools, Vocational Schools, Universities and other Tertiary Institutions are affected by the directive.

He however stated that Council did not approve the reopening of primary schools based on expert medical advice.

Professor Ebeku added that the Council also approved the setting up of a Seven-man Taskforce to monitor and enforce the compliance of COVID-19 protocols in the various schools.

The Taskforce, he said, has the Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt, Ambassador Desmond Akawor as Chairman while Mr. Rufus Godwins, Head of the State Civil Service, Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, Commissioner for Social Welfare, Mrs. Inime Aguma, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Nwankpa and Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim are to serve as members.

The Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku is to serve as Secretary.

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Crocodile Smile: Human Rights Groups Dispel Fear About Nigerian Army’s Efforts to Counter Threats

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The Coalition of Human Rights Monitoring Groups (CHRMG) has assured Nigerians of maximum safety throughout the Nigerian Army’s operation ‘Crocodile Smile’ which it says is targeted at criminals. 

CHRMG’s coordinator, Abubakar Gana, gave this assurance on Monday at a press conference in Abuja ahead of the start of the exercise. 

Gana said the annual operation has no connection with the ongoing #EndSARS protests in the country, contrary to the misconception by “some distractors and tattlers of fake news”. 

In his words, the ‘Crocodile Smile’ is “targeted at the identification of fleeing Boko Haram terrorists from the hot theatre of war in Northeast, but are sneaking into other parts of Nigeria to cause atrocities”. 

He added that the ” exercise has also progressed into the first-ever cyber warfare exercises packaged to identify, track, and counter negative propaganda in social media and in the cyberspace, which is a potent weapon of terrorists in warfare”. 

According to the human rights group, the exercise is an “expression of the Army’s unflagging commitment to the peace and security of Nigeria, which it has always upheld responsively and responsibly, in patriotic flavour in the last five years”. 

Gana assured that troops will continue to respect their fundamental human rights and act professionally as they have always done under Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai. 

He added that “Nigerians can attest that the Nigerian Army’s leadership under Gen. Buratai has zero-tolerance for unprofessional conduct, acts of indiscipline and human rights violations by Army personnel”. 

CHRMG, however, pleaded with Nigerians to discountenance and discard the misinformation and fake news, especially on social media platforms on Exercise Crocodile Smile VI.

Read the full statement below:

The Coalition of Human Rights Monitoring Groups (CHRMG) welcomes the members of the fourth estate of the realm to this press conference. We thank Almighty God for the gift of life and His grace upon our beloved country, Nigeria is facing the multiple challenges of nationhood.

CHRMG finds it imperative to address Nigerians on the Nigerian Army’s conduct of the special edition of Exercise Crocodile Smile VI nationwide set to commence in the next 24 hours. We perceive the exercise as an expression of the Army’s unflagging commitment to the peace and security of Nigeria, which it has always upheld responsively and responsibly, in patriotic flavour in the last five years.

But since the Nigerian Army announced the conduct of Exercise Crocodile Smile VI, slated to commence October 20, 2020, to December 31st, 2020, rumour mongers, detractors and blackmailers have gone out to town with assorted inanities and conjured fals intent on discrediting the timely exercise as we approach the yuletide season as well as instilling fears and panic in Nigerian.

Most laughably, some Nigerians have even linked the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI to the #EndSARS protests in the country and attempted to poison the minds of Nigerians over this yearly routine exercise of the Nigerian Army. But no amount of blackmail and unjustified negative profiling of the Nigerian Army and operations will deter them from performing their constitutional duties.

From our vantage position as watchdogs of the society, CHRMG is assuring Nigerians that it will mobilize monitors and evaluators to observe the conduct of the exercise throughout the country as part of our democratic rights to hold our leaders accountable to us. We shall not blink on this sacred obligation to our compatriots.

But we have no iota of doubt that based on the splendid track records of the Nigerian Army in numerous special assignments on Internal Security (IS) operations, all law-abiding citizens be assured of their maximum protection and safety throughout the exercise, except criminals. We say this confidently and the misgivings about it are misplaced or out of tone with confirmable reality.

The year 2020, a  special version of the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI as disclosed by Army authorities is expansive. Its gamut includes an identification component, targeted at the identification of fleeing Boko Haram terrorists from the hot theatre of war in Northeast, but are sneaking into other parts of Nigeria to cause atrocities. The exercise has also progressed into the first-ever cyber warfare exercises packaged to identify, track, and counter negative propaganda in social media and in the cyberspace, which is a potent weapon of terrorists in warfare.

The detractors mischievously ascribing a novel status and other inordinate reasons for the conduct of the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI are confessed enemies of Nigeria, who seek and pray for the continued destabilization of the country in perpetuity. But Nigerians conversant with the operations of the Nigerian Army under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai knows, the Army has launched both the Nigerian Army Secured Information Platform (NASIP) which is fused into the Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command (NACWC) server.  

The NASIP is powered by strong storage capacity. And the commitment of public resources into its upgrade is to fight cyber warfare.  It is the Army’s years of preparedness to confront the hydra-headed monster of Cyberspace terrorism and other allied matters. The Exercise Crocodile Smile VI streams from this background.

Previous such exercises by the Nigerian Army have always conformed to the highest tenets of respect for the fundamental human rights of citizens everywhere in Nigeria.  The Exercise Crocodile Smile VI is no different! It is expected that this special edition of the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI will also adhere strictly to the highest standards of human rights compliance set by the COAS Gen. Buratai.

Nigerians can attest that the Nigerian Army’s leadership under Gen. Buratai has zero-tolerance for unprofessional conduct, acts of indiscipline and human rights violations by Army personnel. In the last five years, the Nigerian Army has remained a stickler to Rules of Engagement (ROE) and strictly observes global best practices in safeguarding the human rights of Nigerians in all its operations.

Therefore, CHRMG is pleading with Nigerians to discountenance and discard the misinformation and fake news, especially on social media platforms on Exercise Crocodile Smile VI.  It is a ploy by armed criminals to frustrate the exercise, hence it is targeted at apprehending them.

We cannot deny that Nigeria is troubled by senseless acts of insecurities almost everywhere in the country. So, every Nigerian genuinely concerned about the peace and security of the nation should welcome Exercise Crocodile Smile VI. Those seeking to divert attention from the authentic agenda and target of the exercise are the criminals and armed gangs tormenting law-abiding citizens with violence and bloodshed.

The Nigerian Army is only concerned with cleansing the land of bad elements to make Nigeria a proud place of inhabitation. Those afraid are the criminals, armed gangs, their conspirators, accomplices and proxies.

It is senseless to put the cart before the horse. The detractors claiming Exercise Crocodile Smile VI is soldier’s witch-hunt of Nigerians and pre-emptying the Army of the likelihood of abusing human rights of citizens may have to reexamine themselves and their conscience.  

As earlier promised, CHRMG’s monitors and evaluators will keep an eagle eye on the conduct of the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI to ensure no extant law is breached or human rights of citizens violated whatsoever. And where it occurs, the group will not hesitate to inform Nigerians and the relevant authorities as well as seek for justice where necessary.  

We wish you journey mercies to your various destinations and may God bless and protect the Nigerian Army, and its leadership for the wisdom of the patriotic duty; may God bless Nigeria. Thank you all.

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#EndSARS: Inter-Faith Group Berates Adeboye, Oyedepo Others for Defending Same Sex Marriage Against God’s Commandment

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The National Inter- Faith and Religious Organisations for Peace (NIFROP) has expressed displeasure with Pastor E.A Adeboye, Bishop David Oyedepo and other respected clerics over alleged links to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBTQ) community in stoking the #EndSARS protests

In a statement signed by Director of Publicity, Rev. Steven Onwu, on Monday, the clerics said the intention is to overthrow the government and install a pliable replacement that will repeal the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2013.

Protest across the country demanding an end to Police brutality has intensified despite disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and subsequent formation of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT).

In the last couple of days, the protest has taken a violent twist, raising questions about the original intents.

NIFROP said it is “hocked at the unholy alliance between some otherwise respected clergymen with their churches and LGBTQ Community to destroy Nigeria”.

The clergymen, however, advised their colleagues supporting the LGBTQ protests to repent and seek God’s forgiveness for their sins assuming they committed same in ignorance.

The group urged Nigerians to shun these protests henceforth in order not to be contaminated by the sins of LGBTQ.

Read full statement below:

National Inter- Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) is disappointed other decision of some leading clergymen to team up and enter into only alliances with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, (LGBTQ) community in stoking dissention and crisis in the land through the hijack of the #EndSARS protest.

The protest that began as a legitimate agitation for an end to police brutality and abuse of human rights, particularly by the now rested SARS unit, has now turned to the cause of unfolding bloodshed and wanton destruction of property across several cities of the world.

Concerned Nigerians had wondered how protesters were being fed and transported to protest venues only for us to discover that the massing on the streets is being sponsored by the LGBTQ Community, which had successfully hidden their involvement by using cryptocurrency and other dark mode of financing.

We surmise that LGBTQ Community’s objective for bankrolling this protests that have now turned violent is so that they can overthrow the government and install a pliable replacement that will repeal the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2013. It is of note that the Act tallies with the injunctions in the Bible, Quran and the other testaments that the people of God subscribe to. The faithful in Nigeria fully support the Act as none of us want the wrath of God to befall us.

The agenda of the enemies is now clear. For the LGBTQ community to proudly own sponsorship of the protests is an insult to all Christians and Muslims all over the country. It is reprehensible and condemnable in all ramifications. It is abominable that clergymen who should show the way have allowed their pursuit of worldliness to blind them to the directives of God.

NIFROP is therefore shocked at the unholy alliance between some otherwise respected clergymen with their churches and LGBTQ Community to destroy Nigeria, which is real cause for worry in the Body of Christ. We are appalled that Pastors and Bishop have delivered sermons for the youth to join and actively participate in protests whose long-term objective is to open the country up to gay, lesbian and other deplorable lifestyles.

We are further worried that these clergymen went further in their sin by taking money from God’s house to either support the protests directly or used in buying food items for the protesters. We wonder if these clergymen have deleted Leviticus 20:13 from their own versions of the Bible. Ananias and Sapphira were not as indiscreet with the resources of the Church.

NIFROP strongly condemns this decision of the senior clergymen to hobnob with the LGBTQ axis of evil; in violation of God’s injunction, they teamed up with sinners even after the legitimate #ENDSARs has ended just to destroy the country. The clergymen who lent themselves out for this evil are nothing but workers of iniquities in the vineyard of God.

We exhort Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church, Senior Pastor (Dr.) Paul Enenche of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye with his Pastor Folu Adeboye as well as his son and all other clergymen that have supported the LGBTQ protests to repent and seek God’s forgiveness for their sins assuming they committed same in ignorance.

We urge Nigerians to shun these protests henceforth in order not to be contaminated by the sins of LGBTQ. Nigerians should continue to seek the face of God and pray for forgiveness for the way the LGBTQ Community lured a lot of people to sin.

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Yoruba Youths Back Nigerian Army’s Exercise Crocodile Smile, Laud Past Successful Outings

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The Coalition of Progressive Yoruba Youths (CYYY) has welcomed the commencement of the Nigerian Army’s annual exercise, ‘Crocodile Smile’. 

According to the Yoruba youths, the operation which commenced in 2016 has been a tremendous success, curbing crime and criminal activities and will continue that trend this year.
 
Comrade Kola Salau, speaking on behalf of the group at a press conference on Monday in Lagos noted that the addition of cyberwar makes this year’s edition unique. 

Salau said that this would help identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace.

Recalling previous editions, Salau noted that “the military made significant strides as it raided suspected criminal hideouts in the creeks around Ajaosolo, Okogho, Opumani, and Obodo general area and in the process, intercepted suspected illegal oil bunkers and several items.
 
“It was the success of the first exercise that necessitated the launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile II on Takwa Bay Island in Lagos and the sequels because it pushed some criminal elements fleeing from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country”. 

Salau added that ” those of us from the Southwest are particularly concerned because of the enormous human and material resources in the region”.

He, however, assured that the exercise has nothing to do with the ongoing protests in the country. 

The Yoruba youths advised innocent and law-abiding Nigerians that they have nothing to fear as the army have earned a reputation as a highly professional and disciplined institution.

Read full statement below:

It is instructive that we address you on a matter of urgent national importance given what the nation is going through at the moment.

You will agree with us that after the Nigerian military made significant progress in quelling terrorism and banditry in parts of the country, that it is likely that some of the criminal elements may have escaped into the hinterland to continue their heinous acts.

Recent events leading to thdisbandmentnt of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigeria Police Force, has also given citizens concerns about the internal security situation in Nigeria and the police and other security agencies forced out of the streets, concerned Nigerians have expressed fears that crime and criminal activities may escalate in the country and have stressed the fact that the lives of our people, property and investments must be protected by the government.

As we all know, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has never shied away from performing its primary responsibility, which is the protection of lives and property as it has technically defeated terrorism and cracked down on banditry and other forms of crime.

It is in that bid that we welcome the recent announcement by the Nigerian Army, that it is set to continue its annual exercise CROCODILE SMILE on Tuesday.

Since the launch of the exercise in 2016 in the Niger Delta region, the Operation CROCODILE SMILE has been a huge success in curbing crime and criminal activities that its area of coverage was widened and relaunched annually in five different phases. 

The launch of the exercise this year would be the sixth in the series of sequels launched to combat crime.

The only addition to the exercise which will make Operation CROCODILE SMILES VI unique in operation is that it will be enabled to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace.

This means that it will be an all-encompassing exercise which in addition to tracking cyber warfare exercises will also include identifying Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from the Northeast and other parts of the country for the sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria.

From these, we can se
that the launch of the exercise has nothing to do with the ongoing protests in Nigeria as is being peddled by mischief makers as the relaunch of the exercise has become a yearly event since 2016 when it was first launched.
 
Innocent and law-abiding Nigerians have nothing to fear about the exercise as the Nigerian Army has earned a reputation for itself as a highly professional and disciplined institution.
 
This is encapsulated in the fact that for the over five years of Operation CROCODILE SMILE in various parts of the country,  troops have not lost focus on what is expected of them but have abided by the rules of engagement in carrying out their tasks of flushing out criminal elements.

On the other hand, those that have every reason to fear are the criminal’s elements in the country who are making life miserable for millions of citizens through acts like kidnapping, extortion, fraud, armed robbery, oil theft and cybercrime. 

Nigerians must ignore the cynicism and attempt to paint the current exercise in a bad light as this is not the first time that agents of anarchy have tried to do so but failed.

When the Nigerian Army launched the first exercise in the Niger Delta region which was aimed at restoring normalcy to the area and to provide adequate security for residents and the national assets situated there, it was called names and there were allegations that the exercise was an attempt at genocide by the Nigerian government on the people of the region.

It was not long before they confirmed it was to check criminal activities like kidnapping, militancy, piracy and other forms of criminal activities in support of the civil authority and to keep Nigeria and its economy safe and going without interruption.

Despite the cynicism,  the military made significant strides with the exercise as it raided suspected criminal hideouts in the creeks around Ajaosolo, Okogho, Opumani, and Obodo general area and in the process, intercepted suspected illegal oil bunkers and several items.

The first phase of the exercise which took place between August and September 2016 in Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Imo and Rivers
states recorded tremendous success as it degraded activities of militants and illegal oil bunkering, destroyed kidnappers’ den, rescued kidnapped victims and destroyed several cultists’ camps.

It was the success of the first exercise that necessitated the launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile II on Takwa Bay Island in Lagos and the sequels because it pushed some criminal elements fleeing from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country.

In the same vein, since the suspected terrorists and criminal elements are running away from other parts of the country like the Northeast, Northwest, Northcentral and other parts of the country, it is only appropriate for the army to launch Operation CROCODILE SMILES VI to apprehend these elements and the make the country peaceful and secure for the people.

Those of us from the Southwest are particularly concerned because of the enormous human and material resources in the region.

The region arguably has the highest concentration of talents and entrepreneurial concerns as well as Small and Medium Scale Enterprises which complements the government’s efforts in providing jobs to our teeming populace. 

The large number of international markets coupled with public and private assets are also avenues for economic growth.

We, therefore, welcome the steps the government is trying to take to protect lives and property and commend the Nigerian Army for coming up with the initiative. 

We welcome Operation CROCODILE SMILE VI.

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