How Nige­rian mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions are named

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Bri­gadier Gen­eral Sani Us­man, said code names of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions are de­ter­mined by the cir­cum­stances and pe­cu­liar tra­di­tions. He said it some­times in­clude the to­pog­ra­phy of the lo­ca­tions where the ex­er­cise is to take place

Mil­i­tary his­to­ri­ans say code names for mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions started dur­ing World War I be­tween 1914 and 1918 but be­came widely used dur­ing World War II from 1939 to 1945. For in­stance, in Nazi Ger­many, the ini­tial code name for the in­va­sion of Rus­sia was “Op­er­a­tion Fritz” but its leader, Adolf Hitler, didn’t like that name be­cause it didn’t strike fear. He changed it to “Op­er­a­tion Bar­barossa” af­ter the Em­peror of the Holy Ro­man Em­pire, Fred­er­ick I Bar­barossa.

In mod­ern times, many coun­tries and mil­i­tary out­fits still use code names for op­er­a­tions. Per­haps, the most pop­u­lar code name in mod­ern war his­tory was the Gulf war af­ter Iraq in­vaded Kuwait in the 1990s. At first, the build up to the war waged by a coali­tion led by the United States to ousted Iraqi forces was named “Op­er­a­tion Desert Shield” but the ac­tual bat­tle was code named “Op­er­a­tion Desert Storm.”

In­deed, code names are not meant to di­vulge the in­ten­tion of mil­i­tary ac­tions and that which can­not be eas­ily de­coded. The ob­jec­tive would be known. In­vari­ably, the army pro­vides code names that are very strik­ing.

In Nige­ria for in­stance, the mil­i­tary has over 10 si­mul­ta­ne­ous in­ter­nal se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions and mil­i­tary ex­er­cises on­go­ing in the six-geopo­lit­i­cal zones of the coun­try with var­i­ous code names.

But, even be­fore now, code names had been used in the coun­try. For in­stance, the mil­i­tary of­fi­cers who staged the coup of Jan­uary 15, 1966 led by Ma­jor Chuk­wuma Kaduna Nzeogwu code named it “Op­er­a­tion Damisa.” This was mainly to cover up their clan­des­tine ac­tiv­i­ties that even­tu­ally led to the Nige­rian civil war.

At that time, there were also “Op­er­a­tion Kura” be­lieved to be tar­geted at elim­i­nat­ing cer­tain chiefs, “Op­er­a­tion Zaki” to kill the re­main­ing chiefs and “Op­er­a­tion Giwa” meant to carve the coun­try into dis­tricts ad­min­is­tered by Ig­bos.

Why code names

The Nige­rian Army spokesman, Bri­gadier Gen­eral Sani Us­man, said code names of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions are de­ter­mined by the cir­cum­stances and pe­cu­liar tra­di­tions. He said it some­times in­clude the to­pog­ra­phy of the lo­ca­tions where the ex­er­cise is to take place.

He added that there is no hard and fast rule on how the code names come about, but only that they are usu­ally two words. Ac­cord­ing to him, the op­er­a­tions are backed by the con­sti­tu­tion which fore­saw the need for the mil­i­tary to as­sist civil en­force­ment agen­cies in the pro­tec­tion of lives and prop­erty.

How­ever, a se­cu­rity ex­pert, Kabir Adamu said in­ter­nal se­cu­rity mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions are usu­ally what he de­scribed as “dis­place­ment of se­cu­rity chal­lenges”, a sit­u­a­tion that meant while try­ing to solve one prob­lem another is cre­ated. Adamu blamed the in­tro­duc­tion of “op­er­a­tions” on lack of con­fi­dence in other civil se­cu­rity agen­cies.

Cur­rent op­er­a­tions with code names

There are many mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions go­ing on in the coun­try aimed at check­ing var­i­ous se­cu­rity chal­lenges. Some are:

Op­er­a­tion Lafiya Dole: The op­er­a­tion was set up to counter ter­ror­ism and in­sur­gency. It was later ex­panded to spe­cial­ized op­er­a­tions in­clud­ing “Op­er­a­tion Crack­down”, “Op­er­a­tion Gama Aiki” and “Op­er­a­tion Safe Cor­ri­dor.” Op­er­a­tion Gama Aiki was launched to clear rem­nants of Boko Haram from north­ern part of Borno State and the bor­der re­gions with Chad and Niger Repub­lic. It is a joint op­er­a­tion with the Nige­rian mil­i­tary and the re­gional Multi­na­tional Joint Task Force. In fact, Gama Aiki is tar­geted at ter­ror­ists flee­ing “Op­er­a­tion Crack­down.”

Op­er­a­tion Python Dance II: This was launched about a year af­ter Op­er­a­tion Python Dance I in the South­east. It is said to be a field train­ing ex­er­cise.

The army said it was de­signed to, if nec­es­sary, dove­tail into real time ac­tiv­i­ties such as anti-kid­nap­ping drills, pa­trols, raids, cor­don and search, check points, road blocks and show of force.

The ex­er­cise is multi-agency in na­ture and ex­e­cu­tion, as the po­lice, Civil De­fence Corps, State Se­cu­rity Ser­vice and Fed­eral Road Safety Com­mis­sion col­lab­o­rate to en­sure over­all suc­cess of the ex­er­cise. It is with the aim of check­ing an­tic­i­pated ris­ing wave of crimes usu­ally preva­lent dur­ing fes­tive pe­ri­ods.

Op­er­a­tion Croc­o­dile Smile II: This is an ex­er­cise which in­volves am­phibi­ous war games in the Niger Delta re­gion and parts of Ogun State. It is also aimed at pro­tect­ing the na­tion’s crude oil in­fras­truc­ture.

Op­er­a­tion Tsera Teku: This op­er­a­tion was of­fi­cially launched in Warri, Delta State in Fe­bru­ary this year to check piracy in the Niger Delta re­gion.

The op­er­a­tion is ex­pected to cur­tail pipe­line van­dal­ism, armed rob­bery and other off­shore and around the creeks crim­i­nal­ity. It is also aimed at pro­tect­ing ships and oil and gas in­stal­la­tions.

Op­er­a­tion Awatse: It started in July 2016 and was to dis­man­tle the op­er­a­tional bases of pipe­line van­dals and mil­i­tants in the coastal ar­eas of South­west Nige­ria.

Op­er­a­tion Sha­ran Daji/ Op­er­a­tion Harbin Ku­nama II: It was es­tab­lished in the North­west to bat­tle armed ban­dits, cat­tle rustlers and rob­bers op­er­at­ing par­tic­u­larly in Zam­fara, Kaduna and fringes of Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Kano states.

Op­er­a­tion Mesa: This op­er­a­tion has been a na­tion­wide joint po­lice-mil­i­tary se­cu­rity task­force. It is called “Op­er­a­tion Yaki” in Kaduna State and “Op­er­a­tion Zenda” in Benue State.

Op­er­a­tion Safe Haven: It is sta­tioned in Plateau State with ar­eas of op­er­a­tion ex­tend­ing to Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and Kwara states to quell ethno-re­li­gious con­flicts and other crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Op­er­a­tion Delta Safe: This was set up to re­place Op­er­a­tion Pulo Shield. It is aimed at con­tain­ing se­cu­rity chal­lenges in the Niger Delta, es­pe­cially pro­tec­tion of crit­i­cal na­tional as­sets and pro­vi­sion of se­cu­rity in the area.

Op­er­a­tion Ruwan Wuta II: The op­er­a­tion is a fur­ther crack­down on Boko Haram ter­ror­ists as part of ef­forts to dec­i­mate them and check their abil­ity to freely op­er­ate in the coun­try by the Nige­rian Air Force (NAF). Air Force spokesman, Air Com­modore Ola­tokunbo Ade­sanya, said the op­er­a­tion is an in­ten­sive day and night aerial bom­bard­ment de­signed to rain sig­nif­i­cant fire on freshly dis­cov­ered hide­outs of Boko

Haram ter­ror­ists.

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