Operatives of the 81 Division, Nigerian Army on Thursday paraded 13 fake soldiers alleged to have used military uniform to perpetrate crimes in Lagos.
Among the suspects were Ebenezer Adeleke, Afolabi Hassan, Allen Afolabi, Daramola Olamide, Akpan Joel, Eze David, Frank Eze, Joseph Okere, Ahmed Ameh and Akpan Emmanuel.
Thursday’s parade has brought to 41 the number of suspected impersonators arrested the division in Lagos during the lockdown period.
It was gathered that some of the suspects even forged Arny Provost letterhead which they used to apply for visa at foreign embassies not knowing that the military has a procedure known to embassies and high commissions.
According to the General Officer Commanding (GOC) Maj.-Gen. Olu Irefin, the operation checkmate airmed at curbing indiscipline among military personnel has yielded positive results during the lockdown.
Some of the suspects were caught wearing uniforms with the ranks of Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major and Captain at different parts of Lagos, said Irefin.
“You will be shocked at the level they are impersonating the army. Both the Lieutenant and the Major have a photo frame they used to deceive members of public and when you check their internet profile or page they looked real as military personnel.”
“They have used provost letter head to apply for visa but unfortunately they took a wrong channel of applying because we do not do it directly,“ he said.
Expressing worries over the rate at which the military was being impersonated, Irefin said such persons were largely responsible for panting bad image of the army.
“I want to use this medium to appeal to law abiding citizens and other security agents that when they see soldiers, they should ask for their identification cards and where they have doubts they should make contact and we will make arrest.”
“All this arrest you are seeing was based on information and operation checkmate that is currently ongoing. We will continue to do this operation to clean Lagos and it environs of this kind of hooligans,” he said.
Hassan, a resident of 19, Clem road, Ojokoro, said he was arrested at Abule Egba after someone called him they wanted to buy land.
“I got there and it was soldier men and they asked me to take them to my house where they discovered the photo frame and other exhibits that I used to impersonate the army.”
“I was once a soldier. I was dismissed as Copral in 2016 for going Absent Without Leave (AWOL). I bought the uniform and the rank of Lieutenant Colonel from someone in Abacha Barracks in Abuja.”
“I usually used the uniform to escort trucks with goods from Mile Two to inside TinCan for N80,000 per trip. I used N50,000 to settle police, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and other security agents. I used the remain N30,000 to take care of myself and family.”