How Ilado youths bust military impostors
The suspects, led by the soldier, were said to have escaped from police detention and were fleeing in a canoe when they were rearrested by members of the community, who in company of the Ilado Police post, took them to the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja.
A resident, Wasiu Omojola, who narrated the incident to The Guardian said: “We are predominantly fishermen but some of us do oil business. The military personnel used to come to extort money from us daily. We didn’t even know they were fake. They would come in military regalia. Their leader whom we later realized is an Army sergeant would dress as an Army Lieutenant Commander.
“He would gather us and warn that the Army High Command had sent him and his group on a special duty under a joint military operation. He then instructed us to contribute N2millon for his boss. We were able to raise N500,000. The following day, they prevented us from doing our job, so we had to contribute another N300,000. They still said it was not yet okay with them.
“I don’t know how one of us reported the development to the Army authority who said that it didn’t send any team of joint military patrol to our area. When we got the information, we now mobilized against the impostors. When they now arrived the following day to resume their extortion, we arrested them. They did not believe it when we took them to the police.
“We were later informed by the same police that the suspects escaped from the cell. So, we mobilized again and gave them a hot chase. We later got them and accompanied the police who brought them to SARS.”
A police source told The Guardian that the Nigerian Army has confirmed that the man who claimed to be a Lieutenant is a Sargent. “The Army has taken him for court-martialing but we have written to the Army that after the court martial, the man should be brought back to the police for proper prosecution.”
One of the suspects simply identified as Oche said: “There is no job in the country. My friend who is an Army sergeant brought the idea of going to collect money from those doing illegal oil business. He provided me with the uniform that I am putting on now. I don’t know about others, but I got N50,000 thrice.”
Commissioner Of Police, Lagos State command, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said the suspects were rescued from the hands of an angry mob that attempted to lynch them. “The people were attempting to lynch them when the police stormed the place and rescued them. The sum of N380,000 was recovered from the suspects.”
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