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Army arrests 13 impersonators, deserters

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The Nigerian Army.<br />PHOTO: AFP

Operatives of the 81 Division Nigerian Army yesterday paraded 13 alleged impostors and criminals, who were arrested within Lagos and Ogun states. The suspects were said to have paraded themselves at different locations as military officers, extorted and assaulted civilians.

According to the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Maj.-Gen. Enobong Udo, the suspects were apprehended between February and April, adding that they were found with various military accoutrements.

Udo, who was represented by the division’s Chief Staff Officer (COS), Brig.-Gen. Hamisu Hassan, said among the suspects were four dismissed military personnel and civilians, who aided these impostors by making fake military ID cards and providing them with military accoutrements used to carry out their nefarious acts.

He identified the suspects as Emmanuel Anthony, Abdullahi Mubarak, Ibeh Gabriel Emeka, Olasunkanmi Olamide, Godwin Emmanuel, Private Ahmed Yahaya, Ale Ayokunle, Robert Danang, Corporal Abubakar, Private Ibrahim Isah, Monday Oga, Emeka Stephen and Bala Gabriel.

Admitting to the crime, Anthony, a resident of 24, Iyana Cele Ojo, said he ran away from Maiduguri for fear of the deadly Boko Haram insurgents. He said: “I ran away from Maiduguri in 2015.

I was given pass to go see my family. But I refused to go back after my two weeks pass expired. I was arrested and they locked me and took me back to Maiduguri. I ran away because I was afraid to fight Boko Haram in Maiduguri.

“I was impersonating as a Lieutenant so that no one would check me. So after I went back to my family in Akwa-Ibom, I kept wearing the uniform. I know where it is sold. I designed an ID to suite that rank then I showed the sellers my normal military ID.”

On what he has been doing since he deserted the army, the 28-year-old father of two said he escorts commercial vehicles or imported vehicles for N3,000. The Akwa-Ibom indigene, who said he acted out of fear for his life in Maiduguri, is said to be producing and selling fake military forms.

According to the army, the dismissed soldier, who was a Lance Corporal, has also in various occasions impersonated as a Lieutenant, Captain and any other rank that suite his criminal activities.

Accordingly, Emmanuel is said to have a flash drive that contains army ID and recruitment form to sell to prospective civilians, who crave to join the military. He said: “I wanted to give that form to someone who wanted to join military for N3,000.

Ibeh Emeka Gabriel is an alleged member of Emmanuel’s syndicate producing fake army identity cards. He told newsmen that he is a computer operator at Alaba International market Lagos, where he operates a normal business centre.

Parading the suspects, Hassan said: “It should be noted that these criminals are painting a bad image of the military and the Nigerian Army as they commit these criminal illegal acts giving the impression of being bona-fide personnel.

He urged members of the public to always reach out and call the numbers below when in doubt or see persons in uniform engaged in any form of illegality.”


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Nigerian Army
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