The Operatives of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army on Thursday paraded 13 suspects who were arrested for impersonating military officers and perpetrated criminal activities during the ongoing lockdown in Lagos.
The suspects who were arrested in various parts of Lagos, were paraded by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Maj. – Gen. Olubunmi Irefin, at the Division’s Headquaters.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that earlier in April, seven suspects were also paraded for impersonation.
Irefin said: ”One thing the lockdown has done for the state is that our Operation Checkmate, initially meant to check the soldiers from breaking the law is yielding more results than we had planned.
”Today, we have 13 impostors that are being paraded; we have a Lt.- Col. and a Major among them. And you will be shocked at the level at which they are impersonating the army.
”The Lt.- Col. has a picture frame, the same with the major and when you check their internet pages, they are there as military personnel.
”They use letter-head papers alleged to have belonged to the Nigerian Army to apply for visas. Unfortunately for them, that is a wrong channel of applying for visas because we don’t do it directly,” he said.
The GOC appealed to law-abiding citizens in other security agencies to be wary of such impostors.
“That is the problem we are having in Lagos state and when all these impostors create problems within Lagos state environment or Ogun, they will say it is the Nigerian Army.
“I want to use this medium to appeal to law abiding citizens and other security agencies that on occasions where they see soldiers on the road, they should be bold to ask for their identity cards.
”When they have doubts ,they should call or make contact with military units and we will be able to make arrest,” he said.
The army boss said that the 81 Division would not rest on its oars until its Area of Responsibility (AOR) is freed of such hooligans.
“All these arrests are based on information received by the Operation Checkmate outfit and we will continue to do it until we free the state of hooligans.
“You can see the military accoutrements that were recovered from the residence of one of the suspects recently who promoted himself to the rank of major from that of a captain.
“We don’t know how they get things that belong to the military, such as the uniform. These are some of the things we are going to find out from them,” he said.
Irefin said that they would be handed over to the Police for prosecution.
The GOC gave the names of the 13 suspects as: Ebenezer Adeleke, Afolabi Hassan, Allen Afolabi, Daramola Olamide, Akpan Joel, Eze David, Frank Eze, Joseph Okere, Ahmed Amen, Akpan Emmanuel, Festus Nwaonzie, Sunday Siasia and Sunday Olawale.
One of the suspects; Afolabi, 52, said that he impersonated the army to scare land grabbers who were disturbing him within his residence in Sango.
“I was arrested because of a photo-edited picture found in my house. It’s an edited picture portraying me as a captain.
“When I was trying to build my house in Sango, people came to me that I could do photo-editing to impersonate the military to scare land grabbers. Now, I regret my actions,” he said.
NAN reports that the Operation Checkmate an outfit of the Nigerian Army meant to check the activities of its erring personnel, imposters and enforce discipline during the lockdown.