The Nigerian Army, 2nd Division on Tuesday in Ibadan, Oyo State, paraded 62- year-old dismissed Corporal Adeleke Johnson, for claiming to be a serving colonel.
The suspect was also accused of duping some unsuspecting youths by organising fake recruitment exercise into the Army.
Adeleke, who was paraded along with the youth, confessed that he was dismissed from the Army in 1981 for selling the command’s diesel in Lagos without authorisation. The suspect was wearing a fake Army vest when he was paraded.
The fake colonel, who allegedly assured the youth that he could secure admission for them (24 youths) into the Army School, was said to have collected about N2m from his victims.
The victims (both males and females), comprising university graduates, undergraduates and artisans are from Ekiti, Osun and Ondo states. Their ages are between 17 and 29.
While addressing journalists on Tuesday, the General Officer Commanding the division, Maj. Gen. Muhammed Abubakar, said a Good Samaritan alerted the command about the suspect’s activities.
According to the GOC, Adeleke had visited the command and was given the compliments of a senior officer, but unknown to them, he was a dismissed soldier.
Abubakar said, “He allegedly told the unsuspecting parents that he would train their children in the Nigerian Army Intelligence College, Tego Barracks, Lagos.
“To corroborate his mischievous acts, Adeleke connived with some printers to print fake admission letters, produce T.shirts and track suits with 2 Division mascot (Tiger) and the Nigerian Army Intelligence Corps logos printed on them and sold them to the victims.”
This, according to him, is to convince the victims of the authenticity of his scheme.
“It was also found out that he was involved in a syndicate that extorted money from innocent members of the public,” Abubakar added.
Adeleke, who said that he hailed from Okuku in the Odo Otin Local Government area of Osun State, said he was an auto mechanic in the Army before he was dismissed.
He stated that he bought the military kits from Lagos to dupe his victims.
The father of three said he carried out his “business” all alone without involving anybody else. He said, “I feel bad for myself. I was doing it to survive but now this is the end of the road for me.”
Among his victims are a 200-Level student of the Ogun State University, Folakemi Alase; and 29-year-old Niyi Alomoge, who said after being trained to jog in Ipetu Ijesa, they were lodged in a hotel in Ibadan.
The GOC said the Nigerian Army recruitment, which was always done through wide publicity, usually held only once in a year. He appealed to the public to quickly report fraudulent activities they notice d in their areas to the security agencies.
The GOC said Adeleke would be handed over to the police for further investigation and prosecution.
by Akinwale Aboluwade, Ibadan