#EndSARS protesters, the Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, human rights groups and lawyers on Sunday warned the Federal Government against deploying troops to stop Nigerians campaigning for police reforms. They warned the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) that such an action would backfire.
Campaigners, demanding the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, among other requests, have been holding rallies across the major cities of the country for the past 12 days.
The Nigerian Army had on Saturday said it would begin Operation Crocodile Smile aimed at tackling cyber warfare and insurgency.
#EndSARS protesters and other groups interpreted this as a move by Buhari’s regime to deploy troops to quell demonstrations against SARS.
However the Army, in a statement titled, ‘Exercise crocodile smile VI has nothing to do with #EndSARS protests whatsoever’ said the operation was not targeted at the protesters.
A few hours after the Army issued its statement, the Federal Government, through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also said no government would fold its arms and allow anarchy.
Mohammed, in an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority, said that while the original conveners of the protests might have meant well, it was obvious that they were no longer in control of the initiative.
But, the #EndSARS protesters said that the deployment of troops would not stop them from continuing with their daily rallies and demand for police reforms.
They said any move to deploy military force would backfire.
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