Two men, who claimed to be soldiers, overstretched their luck for too long and have to pay for it in the hard way.
The two fake army personnel were apprehended by the Nigerian Army, Benin, Edo State, recently.
The spokesman for the 4 Brigade Command in Benin, Captain Jonah Unuakhalu, who paraded the suspects on Tuesday, identified them as Lucky Francis and Ibrahim Oseni.
One of the suspects, Francis, was said to have arrested a civilian for allegedly failing to clear a debt of N15,000.
Unuakhalu explained that the suspect had told his alleged debtor that he was an army personnel, a claim he also allegedly backed with the presentation of a fake identity card.
But he ran out of luck when his victim laid a complaint at the military barrack, before he was arrested on May 14.
“Lucky Francis was arrested around S and T Barracks, Ugbowo. He, on his own, arrested a person. The person had a way of complaining at the Barracks and he (Francis) was arrested. It was found out that he (suspect) was an impersonator,” Unuakhalu added.
The suspect told our correspondent that he had used the military uniform, which he purchased in a market, to inflict his victim with fear, as a means of recovery the alleged debt.
He said that the victim had told him that he was hungry and need to eat but returned with the soldiers, who arrested him.
Francis, who hails from Sabongida-Ora, Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State, explained, “I was arrested at S and T Barracks. I bought the shirt and brought the trousers from Lagos. The man I arrested was owing me some money, N15,000. I took him to S and T to pay me my money.
“I took him there so that he would be afraid. That was the first time I wore the uniform. The man I arrested told me that he wanted to eat some food.
“He told me to wait for him and gave me his car key and phone. He later came with some soldiers who arrested me. The ID card was printed out at a café at Ring Road with the rank of a private.”
The second suspect, Oseni, was said to be driving with his alleged accomplice, one Yusuf Haruna, from Kano to Warri in the military uniform, which he claimed belonged to his brother, before he was arrested in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area of the state.
It was learnt that he had drawn the attention of a military personnel to his vehicle, after it developed a fault, and introduced himself as a “barrack boy”.
The 4 Brigade spokesperson said, “Ibrahim was arrested at the mechanic village in Auchi on May 11, 2016. He was dressed in military uniform, woodland camouflage and black singlet.
“He claimed that he was driving all the way, in a Mercedes-Benz car, from Kano to Warri, Delta State, when he was apprehended. He was impersonating as a military man, which he is not. His accomplice was with him when he was arrested.”
The suspect said that he had received the uniform from his brother, whom he claimed was a soldier attached to a military formation in Warri, Delta State.
“My brother from the 3 Battalion in Warri gave me the uniform to wash for him. He was taken to Maiduguri. The vehicle I was driving developed a fault, so I saw soldier, I did not know that he was a captain. I told him that I had a problem with my car.
“He asked me if I was a military man, I said no, that I was staying with my brother. He asked me who I was and I said that I was a barrack boy. So, they beat me and took me away,” Ibrahim said.
When asked why he chose to wear the military uniform, the 21-year-old suspect from Kano State, said, “I just wore it; I always see it at home. That was the first time.”
However, the Army Spokesman said that the suspects would be handled over to the police at the end of preliminary investigation.
He also urged residents to apply caution in their dealings with persons, whose actions are suspicious.
Unuakhalu said, “We are doing our own preliminary investigation; we want to know how they got the uniform. After our own investigation, definitely, they will be handed over to the police.
“Most times, you see people like these outside and think they are military personnel (but) they are not. So, one needs to be extra vigilant and careful in dealing with people.
“Once you feel you don’t trust the person, at least lay a complaint at the nearest formation or unit, so that people like these can be apprehended and taken away from the society,” he added.