A suspected fake naval rating, Kingsley Chukwueke, has been arrested by policemen from the Zone 2 Command, Lagos, for allegedly robbing a motorist.
The police said the suspect was aided by a fake soldier, Chidi Ibrahim, who claimed to be the son of a retired army officer.
Chukwueke, Ibrahim and a tailor, Alaba Akanni, were paraded at the Zone 2 Command, Onikan, on Tuesday.
A source had said operatives attached to the command were on a routine patrol along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway penultimate Saturday, when the suspects were caught robbing their victim, a trader in Idumota.
He said, “On May 6, around 12am, we were on a routine patrol along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway. There was serious traffic on the road. A diversion was created to ease the traffic.
“We, however, observed an ash-coloured vehicle, blocking a Toyota Corolla, belonging to the victim. We swiftly moved to the place and saw Chukwueke and Ibrahim at the spot.
“When we challenged them, Chukwueke claimed to be a naval rating. He left and returned a few minutes later with two naval ratings.
“He brought out his identity card. One of the naval ratings he brought examined the ID card and said it was fake; we then arrested him.
“We asked the motorist what the problem was and he said they were robbing him of his personal effects. When we queried Chukwueke, he said he didn’t take any money from the man. However, when we searched him, we found N12,500 on him.”
The police were said to have recovered a bag containing a naval uniform, a naval cap, singlet and belt from the suspect.
The complainant, Paschal Omuokafor, said he had closed from work on the day when he was attacked by the men.
He said, “They used a car to block me and collected my money, two phones and even car key. They said they were military men. The police, who were in the area, arrested them. Their accomplices, who were armed and rode on two motorcycles, fled.”
However, the suspects denied the allegations.
Chukwueke, a 26-year-old indigene of Imo State, explained that he was called by Omuokafor for help after he hit another vehicle in the traffic.
He said, “I am a motorcycle rider. A friend of mine sewed the navy uniform for me. I had applied to join the navy, but I was turned down, so I just sewed the uniform for myself.
“On that day, I was going home from work when I saw that the man had hit another person’s vehicle. The owner of the bashed car then seized his car key. He raised the alarm for help and I went there because he spoke Igbo.
“I discovered that he was drunk. He begged me to assist him get back his car key and he would pay me N3,000. I went to meet the owner of the bashed car and identified myself as a naval rating. I told him to release the car key to me and he did out of respect.
“I returned his key to him and demanded the N3,000 he promised; but he only gave me N1,000. He said that was all he had and asked me to search his pockets. I was doing this when the police came to challenge me. I know it was wrong for me to have the navy uniform, but I didn’t use it that night.”
The second suspect, Ibrahim, said he didn’t know Chukwueke before the incident, adding that he was only observing the scene when he was arrested.
He noted that he was wearing the army uniform as underwear and didn’t use it for any criminal act.
“I saw the naval officer arguing with the driver of the car. I was asking them what the problem was when the police came to arrest me. I don’t know the navy man,” he said.
The 20-year-old tailor, Akanni, said he sewed the navy uniform for Chukwueke in December 2016, after he showed him his ID card.
He said he was surprised when he got home and was told that the police had arrested his relatives, adding that he was arrested when he went to the command.
“They brought out Kingsley (Chukwueke) from the cell and I told them that I sewed the uniform for him. He didn’t tell me he was not a military man,” he said.
The Zone 2 Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Adamu, had directed that the suspects be arraigned in court.
“The AIG will sustain the tempo and rid both Lagos and Ogun states of criminals, especially those who use military uniforms to perpetrate crime,” she added.