How Nigerian military operations are named
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