The General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Umar Musa, has confirmed the arrest of 12 suspects impersonating military officers to commit crimes in Lagos and Ogun states.
A statement by the division’s spokesperson, Major Olaniyi Osoba, on Wednesday, said the suspects were paraded for the offence.
Osoba said Musa, while briefing the press during the parade, said not all persons in Army uniform were military personnel.
The statement read, “The 81 Division, Nigerian Army, has arrested 12 suspected imposters fully dressed in military camouflage portraying the Nigerian Army in a bad light during Operation Checkmate within Lagos and Ogun states.
“The General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Umar Musa, in a press briefing, dispelled the unfounded narrative that all illicit acts committed by persons dressed in military uniforms are always by military personnel.
“He noted that persons displaying military banners and accoutrements, such as belts and stickers on vehicles and driving commercial vehicles in military uniform as well as driving civilian vehicles painted in army colours are most often not personnel of the Nigerian Army.
“He said in an effort to curtail the ugly trend, the division had heightened the activities of Operation Checkmate to ensure regular arrest of imposters and offenders within the division’s area of responsibility. The GOC disclosed that over 150 impostors were arrested from January last year till date.”
During the parade, Musa was quoted as saying preliminary investigation revealed that some of the suspects specialised in mounting roadblocks along the Ajah Road to extort money from motorists, as well as indulging in other illegal duties while dressed in the Nigerian Army uniform.
“Similarly, the GOC said some arrested suspects fully dressed in military uniform were caught along the Ilaro border area of Ogun State, where they smuggled rice and other contraband.
“The GOC said the arrested impostors would be handed over to the police for further action. He, therefore, urged members of the public to desist from wearing military uniform and T-shirts, displaying military banners, belts and stickers on vehicles as well as driving civilian vehicles painted in army colours,” he added.