• DHQ warns Nigerians against impersonation
By Paul Obi in Abuja and Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto
Following increasing cases of fake military officers in the society, there appear to be growing concern among military establishments and the intelligence community over the menace, as military officers warned that such acts could slit open the floodgates of criminals infiltrating the military.
This came as the Defence Headquarters yesterday warned Nigerians to desist from such acts as it would deal severely with any culprit involved in such criminality.
According to the acting Director of Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, the menace of civilians faking military officers gives the military establishment great concern, an act which portend danger within the security and intelligence circle.
He said: “The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has revealed the spate of use of military uniforms by some unscrupulous elements who disguise as personnel of the Nigerian armed forces to get access to public places to commit crimes as well as detonate their explosives to kill innocent citizens in their desperation to perpetrate their terrorists activities.
“The recent arrest of a fake Major in uniform and the killing of four security operatives guarding a facility in Rivers State by some unknown gunmen in military uniforms were instructive in this regards.
“While the military and other security agencies are exploiting all means to end the insurgency, militancy and all other forms of criminalities from our country, we wish to request the general public to be on the watch in all public places and report any suspicious person or group posing as military personnel to security agencies to cut off his or her heinous intention to save our citizens.”
Abubakar further stated that “the general public is further advised to be more vigilant in crowded places as terrorists can disguise in any form to achieve their evil intents including the use of military uniforms.”
The warning came amid increasing spate of some terrorists disguising under the cover of military officers on duties to engage in acts of terrorism and insurgency.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Burutai, yesterday said the Army Council had approved the relocation of the 8th Division in Northern Borno to Sokoto State.
He also said the federal government was committed to ensuring that all parts of this country is secured.
Speaking during a condolence visit at the Government House, Sokoto, Burutai disclosed that the division in the North-east particularly in Northern Borno, would be relocated to Sokoto very soon.
He said the establishment of a division in Sokoto would go a long way in ensuring adequate security in the states bordering Benin and Niger Republic.
“The 1 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Sokoto, is being upgraded to a division. But right now, that division is in the North-east. So, as soon as we are through with the operation and the situation stabilises in Northern Borno, the division will relocate automatically to Sokoto.
“We have extensive borders from Sokoto all the way to Katsina, Kebbi and up to Benin and Niger Republic. We have the challenge of insurgency especially terrorism and it does not know boundaries, it crosses from one country to another.
“We have this experience in the North-east where our neighbours find a sanctuary for this criminals that has been launching attacks on our territory. We have to provide necessary defence mechanism through resources and appropriate deployment of troops,” he said.
He emphasised that the relocation of the division from north of Borno to Sokoto was strategic, as it would help to stabilise the security situation that is prevailing in this part of the country.
The COAS reaffirmed the committment of the Nigerian Army to ensure security in all parts of the country.
He commended Governor Aminu Tambuwal for the excellent relationship that has been existing between the people of Sokoto State and the military.
Burutai also commiserated with the government and people of Sokoto State over the demise of late Sultan, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki.
He prayed God to grant him eternal rest and give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Responding, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, noted that the establishment of a division would go a long way in ensuring security in the zone.
He commended the military for ensuring peaceful co-existence in the country.
Tambuwal urged the Nigerian Army to remain focused in their battle against insurgency in the North-east.
“You have restored the dignity of your men, please don’t be distracted. You should remain focused in your efforts to secure the country,” Tambuwal added.