Emmanuel Anthony

Rebecca Ejifoma

81 Division Nigerian Army in Lagos has paraded 13 impostors and criminals – all male – within its area of responsibility in various parts of Lagos and Ogun States for parading themselves as military personnel and assaulting innocent civilians.

These impostors were paraded today April 9 at the Headquarters 81 Division in Kofo Abayomi Lagos by the Chief Staff 81 Division, Brigadier General Hamisu Hassan on behalf of the General Officer Commanding Enobong Udoh.

Among the 13 arrested were deserter soldiers, dismissed personnel and criminals who aid and abet these impostors by making fake military ID cards and providing them with military accoutrements used to carry out their nefarious acts. They are: Emmanuel Anthony, Abdullahi Mubarak, Ibeh Gabriel Emeka, Olasunkanmi Olamide, Godwin Emmanuel, Private Ahmed Yahaya, Ale Ayokunle, Robert Danang, Corporal Abubakar, Private Ibrahim Isah, Monday Oga, Emeka Stephen and Bala Gabriel for crimes of varying degrees.

According to Emmanuel Anthony, who is a resident of 24 Iyana Cele Ojo Lagos and fake ID producing syndicate, ran away from Maiduguri for fear of the deadly Bo Haram insurgency. “I ran away from Maiduguri in 2015. I was given pass to go see my family. But I refused to go back after my two weeks pass expired”.

Adding, Emmanuel admitted that he was arrested earlier in 2015. “They lock me and wanted to return me to my base in Maiduguri but I refused to go. So, I ran away because I was afraid to fight Boko Haram in Maiduguri.”

The Akwa-Ibom indigene, who said he acted out of fear for his life in Maiduguri, is said to be producing and selling fake military forms. According to the Army, the dismissed soldier, who was a Lance Corporal, has also in various occasions impersonated as a Lieutenant, Captains and any other rank that suite his criminal activities.

Emmanuel said: “I was impersonating as a Lieutenant so that no one would check me. So after I went back to my family in Akwa-Ibom, kept wearing the uniform.

He added that he returned to Lagos, where he bought the Lieutenant rank at Napex Market at Airforce Base Ikeja to attach to his uniform. “I know where it is sold. I designed an ID to suite that rank then I showed the sellers my normal military ID”.

On what he has been doing since he refused to return to his base in Maiduguri, the 28 years old father of two, expressed that he escorted transport motor or tokunbo (already used) for 3,000 naira.

Accordingly, Emmanuel is said to have a flash drive that contains Army ID and Army recruitment form to sell to prospective civilians, who crave to join the military. He said: “I wanted to give that form to someone who wanted to join military for 3000 naira”.

Ibeh Emeka Gabriel is an alleged member of Emmanuels’s syndicate producing fake Army IDs. He told newsmen that he is a computer operator at Alaba International market Lagos, where he operates a normal business centre. “What I do is normal business centre – printing of business cards, IDs, photocopying and typing at the market”.

He said: “The first time he came to my office, he came with a colleague. I know what is legitimate and illegitimate. But he told me his colleague misplaced his ID and pleaded I helped him. He told me to scan his ID then edit the information and make for his friend. I told him it was an offence. He said he would destroy the ID from my system immediately he was through. He paid just 1000 for the printing of the ID.

Meanwhile, some of the items recovered from the impersonators include: a table desktop, a printer, a generator set, a laminating machine and a Central Processing Unit (CPU).

“Most of the illegalities are perpetrated by these impostors while reiterating that Maj Gen Okon Udoh has zero tolerance for all forms of illegality,” the Brigadier General said.

The Chief of Staff 81 Division further revealed that the frequency of occurrence was in the decrease since the inception of “Special Operation CHECK MATE” launched by the General Officer Commanding on his assumption of office.

“It should be noted that these criminals are painting a bad image of the military and the Nigerian Army as they commit these criminal illegal acts giving the impression of being bona-fide personnel. He urged members of the public to always reach out and call the numbers below when in doubt or see persons in uniform engaged in any form of illegality,” he said.

To further checkmate such illegal activities, Hassan gave out phone numbers to reach out to and lay complaints. 07069353889/08060492529—Ojo, 07017064979—Badagry, 08034347484—Victoria Island, 08065992320—Ikeja, 08069097624—Owode, 08065806870—Ikorodu, 07064281177—Obalende, 08053862233/08057705135—Abeokuta.

While he urges Nigerians to use the phone numbers given, he assured newsmen that the suspects would be handed over to the police for further interrogation and investigation.