A member of the Nigerian Legion Corps Commissionaires, Lagos State Command, has been arrested by officers of the Nigerian Air Force for allegedly posing as an army general on the premises of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja.
PUNCH Metro reports that the suspect was on his way to a destination around the airport when air force officials subjected him to a series of questioning.
It was learnt that the suspect failed to give the right answers as the air force officials arrested him.
An eyewitness, who just flew in from the United Kingdom on Monday, said after the military officials arrested the suspect, he was chained and taken to the barracks for further questioning.
The source said, “How he was arrested was that he posed as a three-star general and also made use of a red flag around the collar of the uniform he wore. So, when the officers saw him, they saluted him because of his rank, but his response to their salutation drew suspicion because he never displayed the normal action.
“So, the officers requested where he was serving and when he gave no meaningful response, they started interrogating him. After discovering he was a fake soldier, they bundled him into their pick-up van.
“If you see him, you will pity him. He even attempted to bribe the officers, but they declined. The incident happened around the checkpoint close to the motor park where people usually pay money.”
The spokesperson for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, confirmed the incident.
“Anybody can pose as anybody anywhere in the world, including Nigeria, and even within our system. It was a good thing that he was accosted; it is the air force’s matter now,” she added.
The NAF spokesman, Edward Gabkwat, identified the suspect as a member of the Nigerian legion.
He said, “The legion has been advised to desist from wearing ranks on anything other than a ceremonial uniform and not just to be wearing it and gallivanting around. They have been told to follow strict protocols as to what is obtainable in other climes. The case was later settled and the man released.”
The Corps Commandant, Nigerian Legion Corps Commissionaires, Lagos State, Major Timothy Okegbenro, said, “On Tuesday, I was with ACP Force CID, Panti, because of some of these unscrupulous elements among the Nigerian legion, particularly those trying to wear insignia not designated to them.
“From time to time, we give them warning that the kind of uniform that is approved by the Ministry of Defence is what we allow them to wear as they are not allowed to wear anything that goes with the Nigerian Army.”
A security expert, Dickson Osajie, described the situation as a security threat.
He said, “If you are a member of the Nigerian legion and you think you want to put on full military attire, that is gross misconduct and a total impersonation of the military. The Nigerian legion should go back to its standard operating procedure and dressing manual to abide by those rules and regulations.”