Afenifere, Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, yesterday warned against militarization of Nigeria, saying it portended serious danger for the country.
The group called on the Federal Government to prevail on the military to halt its plan to launch Operation Crocodile Smile in the Southwest geopolitical region to tackle the Badoo gang.
It said the operation was unnecessary since the gang had been decimated by the combined efforts of the police and the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC).
Yinka Odumakin, who spoke on behalf of the group after its monthly meeting in Akure, Ondo state capital, said it was the duty of the police to handle such matter even if there was resurgence in the menace of the gang.
“We considered the recent announcement by the military to launch Operation Crocodile Smile in the South West region of the country after the Python Dance in the South East which has been largely condemned locally and internationally.
“They said the operation ostensibly is to confront the Badoo menace. The Badoo gang has been decimated by the Nigeria Police and the OPC in the area where it occurred.
“We insist that it is the duty of the police to deal with such matters without causing tension, invasion and harassment as it happened in the South East during Operation Crocodile Dance.
“The military has no duty in going after Badoo even if it comes back. We want the federal government to be careful at the spate at which it deploys solders all over the country.
“The other day, the Speaker of the House of Representatives lamented that 28 out of 36 states of the country are under one military operation or the other.
“The South west has been adjudged the most peaceful area of the country. To now bring military here is to say that the entire country is not safe,” the group said.
Afenifere warned that frequent deployment of soldiers would send a wrong signal to foreign investors and encourage the military to think of coming back to power.
It said: “More importantly, the federal government should be reminded that before the coup of 1966, this was how Balewa government started to transfer civil duty to military and the military now thought they could take over power themselves.”
Afenifere flayed Monday’s invasion of the palace of Olubadan of Ibadan by hoodlums, describing it as a direct attack on the sacred institution of Obas in the Yoruba land.
The group called on the government of Oyo state to immediately lead the effort to get the perpetrators and ensure that they are punished to serve as a deterrent to others .
It also expressed worry over the conflict between Ondo and Osun states which had seen a commissioner attacked in Ondo state and a retaliatory attack on the Sunshine football club in Ogun state.
“We see this as a brewing crisis that must be nipped in the bud. We can only know the beginning of a development like this, nobody can predict the end.
“We don’t want war between the two states in the South west and therefore call on the two governors to quickly meet and nip the crisis in the bud as it may escalate beyond what we are saying,” Afenifere said.