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Army arrests fake colonel, major, others in Lagos

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Decoy operatives of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army have arrested 13 fake military personnel, among whom is a Lieutenant-Colonel Afolabi Hassan and a Major Afolabi Allen Adegboyega, who had been parading themselves as senior officers of the army for 12 years.

The suspects, who were arrested during the ongoing ‘Operation Checkmate’ had various military accoutrements in their possession. Parading the suspects at the division’s headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos yesterday, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Maj.-Gen. Olu Irefin, revealed that the impostors were arrested based on credible information.

Giving details of their arrest, Irefin said the fake Lt. Col., was arrested wearing complete NA woodland camouflage uniform with a Lt.- Col. rank badge, and a Military Police (MP) badges. According to the GOC, preliminary findings had it that the said Hassan, had been impersonating as an officer of the NA since 2008, and had been previously arrested for the offence.

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It was learnt that a search executed at the suspect’s residence, at No. 19, Clem Road, Ojokoro, Lagos, led to the discovery of one NA pullover, one woodland camouflage T-Shirt, and five NA uniforms.

Irefin said: “I think one thing the lockdown has done for Lagos is that our operation checkmate, which was initially meant to check our soldiers from breaking the law, is yielding more results. Today we have 13 impostors paraded.

“The Lt.-Col., and the Major had big picture frames, with pictures of them wearing their fake ranks. When you check their Facebook pages, they also claimed to be army officers. Jassan had used fake Provost letter-headed paper to apply for visa. Unfortunately for him, that is a wrong channel of applying for visa, because we don’t do it directly. When all these people create problems within the.”

As a way of ending the scourge of military impersonation, Irefin urged security agencies on law enforcement to always check the Identity Cards of soldiers, to verify they are not impostors. He said the army authority will find out how the suspects got the uniforms and then hand them over to the police for prosecution.

Speaking on how he got the military accoutrements in his possession, 45-year-old Hassan said he bought them from Abacha Barracks Market in Abuja. Hassan, who also claimed to be a dismissed soldier since 2016, said he was arrested at Abule-Egba area of Lagos.

For 52-year-old Adegboyega, posing as a military officer was to scare land grabbers who had threatened to take over his property at Sango, Ogun State. A search was conducted at Adegboyega’s residence at Olugba community, Ilogbo Road, Ogun State, where two sign post read: ‘Military Zone, Keep Off’.

Other arrested suspects included: Joseph Okere, Emmanuel Akpaka, Frank Eze, Ahmed Ameh, Sunday Olawale, Siasia Sunday, Festus Nwanozie, Ebenezer Adeleke, Joseph Gabriel, Ibe Eze and Joel Akpan.

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