Nigerian Army Arrest 23 Suspected Cultists, Impostors and Pipeline Vandals
In continuation of the crackdown on criminal elements and cultists in and around Lagos and Ogun states, the troops of 81 Division Nigerian Army have yet again arrested 23 suspected cultists in the Eginrin Depression area of Ikorodu on 16 April 2018 where over 50 suspected cultists from “Eiye” confraternity were conducting physical training for new recruits, initiation and planning of robbery/kidnap activities. Their arrest followed an intensive surveillance and intelligence report to uncover the locations and activities of the cult group. Their arrest was preceded by shootout between the troops of 174 Battalion Ikorodu and the cultists after which, 23 of the suspected cultists were arrested while others escaped. Two of the suspects sustained varying degrees of gunshots wounds, one of the suspected newly recruited cultist died as a result of injuries inflicted on him during the cult initiation. However, one of the gallant soldiers while combatting the cultists sustained a gunshot wound on his left leg during the encounter and was immediately evacuated. The soldier and the 2 wounded cultists are receiving treatment at the Battalion’s Medical Reception Station. Items recovered from the suspects include 1 locally made double barrel pistol, 5 live cartridges, 5 machetes, 4 Jack knives, 2 table knives, 3 locally fabricated axes with nail-like edges, 5 mobile phones, 1 parcel containing substance suspected to be Indian hemp; others are 2 ATM cards, 8 identity cards, 9 passport photographs, packets of condom, rings and a variety of charms. Meanwhile, the arrested suspected cultists are undergoing preliminary investigations after which they will be handed over to the Nigerian Police for further investigations and prosecution.
In a related development, acting on a tip off from well-meaning citizens, troops of the 81 Division also raided some suspected pipeline vandals at Ilara and Imagbon areas of Ikorodu to stop their sabotage activities on the Nation’s pipeline. The suspected vandals armed with AK-47 rifles fired sporadically and fled on sighting troops. During the operation, sabotaged portions of the NNPC pipelines were observed in the General Area of Imoro Creek in Imagbon. Items recovered from them include: 1 wooden boat, 40 empty 50 liters of Jerry Cans and a 1000m long laid hose ostensibly used in siphoning products by the suspected vandals. The recovered items were destroyed in-situ and no arrest was made.
Similarly, while on Anti Bunkering patrol along Imoro Creek in Ikorodu, on 17 April 2018, troops of 174 Battalion, 81 Division Nigerian Army, discovered sabotaged points along the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipeline including a loading area in the Creek for siphoned products where 8 suspected vandals were arrested. Items recovered from them include; 10 Vehicles (7 Saloon cars, 2 Wagons, 1 J5 Ford bus). Other items recovered are 31 Jerry cans loaded with refined products, 77 empty Jerry cans, 3 Coolers, 9 mobile phones and substances suspected to be hard drugs. Another set of 1,320 empty Jerry cans were also discovered and destroyed in-situ. The suspected vandals are undergoing preliminary investigation after which they will be handed over to the appropriate security agency for further investigations and prosecution.
In yet another development, on 17 April 2018, troops of 35 Artillery Brigade Alamala Barracks, Ogun state while on Operation CHECKMATE, arrested an impostor, Mr. Taiwo Ayomide at Ademola Hotel beside Yasmin Mosque Sagamu, dressed in Military camouflage while extorting money from unsuspecting citizens. The suspect is a resident of No. 46 Ojumile Street Sagamu. Items recovered from him include; Identity Card, Camouflage uniform, Green Beret and a military belt. He is undergoing preliminary investigations before he will be handed over to the Nigeria Police.
Furthermore, on 17 April 2018, troops of 174 Battalion Ikorodu on Operation CHECKMATE arrested one Mr. Bello Kasimu, a dismissed soldier. He was arrested at Flower general area opposite Fish Farm Ikorodu wearing a camouflage T-shirt. He specializes in escorting trucks to all parts of the country while parading himself as a serving personnel. Items recovered are; 1 fake Military ID card, a mobile phone, Court Affidavit, ATM card and a brown wallet.
In addition, 5 suspected impostors were arrested by troops of 9 Brigade, 81 Division, while on operation CHECKMATE. The following are the suspected impostors arrested:
a. Mr. Ale Victor Michael of No 3 Tony Marshall Street, Ajasakoma Ipaja. He was arrested along Iba Road on 14 April 2018, dressed on Military Camouflage T-Shirt and Desert boot impersonating as a soldier. Items found in his possession are; 1 Nigerian Army Badge, 2 Camouflage T-Shirts, 1 Daga knife, 1 Royal Ranger ID card, 1 Lieutenant Rank and 2 Nigerian Army Letters of Recommendation.
b. Mr. Adetileyin Segun of block 2 flat 1 Camp 3 was arrested on 13 April 2018 for impersonating as a soldier.
c. Mr. Olarewaju Yusuf of No. 5 Idowu close Ojo-Alaba Road was arrested on 11 April 2018 for impersonating as a soldier. He was in possession of an Army camouflage cap, claiming to be an Air Force personnel.
d. Mr. Ibrahim Isa aka “Malaika” was arrested on 15 April 2018. The suspect usually claims to be a soldier in order to commit criminal acts.
e. Mr Ibrahim Abdullahi, a dismissed soldier was arrested on 15 April 2018 for assault and impersonation.
The authorities of 81 Division Nigerian Army also wish to bring to the awareness of the general public the obnoxious activities of some so-called land grabbers who deliberately contract the services of impostors across the state to forcefully take over plots of land that do not belong to them. For instance, in the recent past, troops of 81 Division on Operation CHECKMATE received a tip-off from some concerned residents that some soldiers who accompanied one of the parties in a land dispute were beating up the other party in the dispute and causing pandemonium in the general area. The troops immediately responded and arrested 6 of the alleged military personnel involved, all dressed in military camouflage uniform. It is interesting to note that, on investigation, all the soldiers involved, turned out to be impostors and were accordingly handed over to the Nigeria Police for further investigation and prosecution.
The experience of this Division reveals that most of the people in military uniform that were arrested by the crack team of Operation CHECKMATE while extorting innocent citizens, interfering in land disputes, perpetrating one criminal act or the other actually turned out to be impostors who are unduly and deliberately tarnishing the good image of the Nigerian Army by committing such crimes while impersonating military personnel creating the false and unfortunate impression that such criminal acts were being perpetrated by soldiers. The general public is please requested to be wary of the fact that the nefarious activities of land grabbers deliberately working with impostors in military uniform to defraud and dispossess unsuspecting land owners of their lands is now proliferated. The public should particularly be wary of the fact that not all the people that they are seeing around them in various military uniforms are bona-fide military personnel.
The General Officer Commanding 81 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Enobong Okon Udoh wishes to use this opportunity to thank the general public and indeed the people of Lagos and Ogun states for their continued cooperation and urges them to always give timely information that will help the Division in its operational efforts on day to day basis. He pledged not to relent until the Area of Responsibility of his Division is completely rid of all forms of cultism, vandalism and other violent criminal activities and criminal elements. He enjoined members of the public to continue to always reach out and call the numbers below or contact the nearest military barracks for timely useful information.
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