Thursday 16 April 2020

I bought Army uniform for N20,000 to fight hunger— Impostor

It was a shocker on Tuesday in Lagos as military impostors narrated how they bought army camouflage uniforms to enable them to ride motorbikes without being arrested in Lagos.

Making the confession at the Headquarters, 81 Division, Nigerian Army during a parade, the criminals gave reasons why they used military uniforms to commit crimes in Lagos.

A dismissed soldier and a fire brigade officer from the Surulere unit were among seven others paraded by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division Nigerian Army, Maj Gen Olu Irefin, at the headquarters, Kofo Abayomi in Victoria Island.

Parading the suspects before newsmen, the GOC warned members of the public to desist from using military uniform and other accoutrements as violators would be arrested and prosecuted.

One of the suspects, Mr. Moses Johnson, from Delta,  resides at Oke-Afor Agbara area of Lagos said he was driven into using military uniform due to hunger and to avoid arrest. He explained that as the lockdown meant to stop the spread of Covid-19 pandemic continued, he was compelled to wear army uniform to enable him escape arrest by the police at various checkpoints.

Other suspects paraded included: Anamati Imeh of No 6, Okokomaiko, Lagos who was arrested while on military uniform riding commercial motorcycle and claimed to be a military personnel along Bonny Cantonment; Mr Ogbunamado Patrick Azubuike of Alhaji Jimoh street, Oko-Afor, Badagry, who was dismissed from the Nigerian Army Engineers in 2015.

Also paraded were: Mr Ayuba Poshiga of No 6 Oluwatedo Street Selemizer Badagry Expressway, Lagos; Mr Charles David of Block 2, Ibereko Barracks, Badagry, who is a husband to a serving soldier; Mr Abdulrasaki Isah of Seme Border behind Isolaye Hotel, Sango and Mr Raymond Okpobrisi of Federal Fire Service, Surulere station, Lagos. They were arrested at different points in Lagos metropolis during Operation Checkmate.

While admitting that he bought the uniform from NAPEX complex at the Ojo Military Cantonment for N20,000, Johnson added that being a son to a retired soldier, it was easier for him to access NAPEX to procure the uniform.

He explained that he has only used the uniform to ride his motorbike for one and half months before he was arrested at Idumota bridge while conveying a friend’s mother to Lagos Island.

On their modus operandi, Gen Irefin added that “Some of them either wear the uniform and cap or put it in front of their vehicles. Some use the stickers too. I want to warn again that nobody is permitted to use military stickers on their cars at any point in time. Even military personnel don’t use the stickers again so as to prevent this kind of situation.”

The GOC noted that all the impostors were arrested during Operation Checkmate, a routine activities in 81 Division Area of Responsibility (AOR) to checkmate erring personnel, impostors and enforce discipline.

“During one of the operations carried out at Victoria Island, Obalende and Ojo environs, these persons were arrested for using military uniform to commit crimes. Some were impersonating as military personnel while conveying passengers on motorbikes and other illegal duties.

“These are people given the military bad image. I want to encourage the public to report people of these characters as soon as they can. We would continue to sanitize the society as we continue this operations until we restore normalcy, not necessarily for them but some of our own personnel who are misbehaving and carrying passengers.

“These are pure civilians using military uniform to commit crimes. They will be handed over to the police with their ceased vehicles for prosecution.

“If you have military stickers or accouterments in your vehicle, we are going to stop and arrest you and hand you over to the police. Most of those who posed in military outfits and carry passengers on motorcycles are not soldiers or members of the Armed Forces,” Gen Irefin said.

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