No less than five persons who have been masquerading as soldiers have been arrested by 9 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Ikeja Cantonment, Lagos State, Vanguard reports.
The suspects who were handed over to the police for further investigation and prosecution, were reportedly apprehended on separate occasions at Ojodu Berger, Ikorodu, Ogba, and Ikeja areas of Lagos.
The suspects, identified as Johnson Ayemoba, Salami Olamilekan, Mumammed Bilyaminu, Abijo Taofeek, and Adewale Quadri, according to the Director of Public Relations for the 9 Brigade, Major Augustine Kolawole, were captured during a routine patrol conducted by the Brigade.
According to Vanguard, one of the impersonators, 32-year-old Johnson Ayemoba, was found dressed in full military camouflage, with a photograph of himself wearing the military uniform.
During interrogation, Ayemoba claimed that a friend gave him the uniform.
He said, “I work as a bouncer and provide security at event places like Ikeja, Lekki, and Victoria Island. I obtained the uniform from my friend, Tiger. My arrest occurred in Ikeja while I was not wearing the uniform but in civilian attire. I took this picture during my birthday.”
For Olamilekan, he explained that he wore it to escort vehicles within and outside Lagos, adding that he acquired the uniform from a man he gave his name simply as Tiger, who was introduced to him by the first suspect.
While briefing journalists on the arrest, Major Kolawole, said “These impostors had been presenting themselves as soldiers of the Nigerian Army, causing disturbances, engaging in theft through deception, and at times, resorting to violence while using military uniforms and equipment. These actions, along with those of other impostors still at large, have severely tarnished the reputation of the Nigerian Army among law-abiding citizens.
“For the record, Headquarters 9 Brigade Nigerian Army under the command of Brigadier General Adegoke Adetuyi will continue to ensure that troops deployed on Internal Security duties operate professionally within the purview of the law. This headquarters will continue to uphold the Nigerian Army Code of Conduct, ethics, core values, and soldiers’ creed, hence, it will never encourage or tolerate the engagement of troops in any act that will hurt law-abiding citizens they are meant to protect.
“We, therefore, appeal to law-abiding citizens to be wary of such impostors parading themselves as soldiers and mounting illegal roadblocks in some parts of Lagos state.
“We also request Lagosians to report any suspicious act by unauthorised men in military uniforms to the appropriate authority in order not to fall victim to their dastardly acts.”
Major Kolawole expressed optimism that the police investigation and subsequent prosecution would send a strong warning to other criminals within the 9 Brigade’s Area of Responsibility and the nation as a whole.
He further warned members of the public to desist from the use of Army stickers, placement of camouflage jungle hats on vehicle dashboards, and the display of other military insignia or accouterments on private vehicles, “as well as wearing military uniforms for fashion purposes. They are illegal. Anyone caught engaging in these violations may face prosecution for impersonation