- The group recalled that at the first phase of the exercise, 10 youths from the oil producing communities were ‘wrongfully arrested’ by the military
- The group stated that instead of engaging in the exercise, the army and other relevant authorities should put all of their energies into ensuring the smooth take-off of certain projects in the riverine communities
The Nigerian army has been urged by the Delta Ijaw Women Initiative (DIWI), to keep off from riverine areas as the group stated that the women in the oil-producing communities want development and not ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’, Vanguard reports.
The group made its position known in a statement released via its president, Mrs. Ebimaye Bebenimibo.
She stated: “What the women in the riverine communities need now is development, peace and empowerment, not an atmosphere of chaos and tension that the army and other security agencies are planning to unleash on them.
“We are therefore calling on the relevant authorities, especially the chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to ensure such exercise does not take place in our riverine communities to the detriment of the good and law-abiding people of the Niger Delta, especially those in the riverine communities.
“They (the army) should, therefore, keep away from our riverine communities.
“It is a known fact that the last time the army carried out Crocodile Smile in the riverine communities, it left the women in tears and with a painful experience, especially with the wrongful arrest of 10 youths, who were from one of the riverine communities.
“Imagine the trauma those women had to go through until their innocent children were later released.
“Those Delta Ijaw women are yet to recover from that last incident and now the army is again set to carry out another of such exercise, thereby heightening their fears.
“We, the Delta Ijaw women believe that rather than the army carrying out such exercise, they and the relevant authorities should garner all of their energies to see to the smooth take-off of certain projects in the riverine communities, one of which is the Nigeria Maritime University, NMU, Okerenkoko, with its take-off campus at Kurutie town in Gbaramatu Kingdom, the Gbaramatu Deep Sea Port and the Escravos Export Processing Zone, EPZ.”
Meanwhile, Onlinenigeria.com previously reported that the Nigerian army said it would launch the Operation Crocodile Smile II, which would cover the southsouth region and some parts of the southwest.
The army’s spokesperson, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, stated that the encouraging feedback from the southeast after Python Dance I, was what made the army to commence the ongoing Python Dance II.