Two men have been arrested in Lagos for impersonating soldiers of the Nigerian army and beating up a lawyer, Paul Onyilo and his client, Solomon Chima, the Punch is reporting.
The suspects, Adebayo Olanrewaju, Joseph Daniel – and their fleeing accomplice, who was allegedly impersonating a naval officer, were led to the venue of a meeting at Sharp Corner, in Agbado by one Gilbert.
The dispute stated after Solomon refused to pay Gilbert the balance of N1,000 out of the N60,000 worth of paint he bought from him. Solomon said Gilbert did not deliver all the paint he ordered for.
The lawyer said they beat him to pulp.
“I was at the restaurant with my client and his wife to discuss a deal. We were waiting for someone when he received a call from a man (Gilbert), asking him where he was.
“A few minutes after, another person called him, threatening that they would catch him wherever he was. He was frightened and I asked him what happened. He explained to me that he was owing Gilbert N1,000. He said Gilbert was also supposed to give him three tins of paint. I decided to alert the Agbado Police Station to the imminent violence.
“The moment I finished sending the distress call, Gilbert and three other men – two in army uniform and one dressed in Nigerian Navy uniform – barged into the restaurant. Gilbert ordered them to beat Solomon (Chima). I tried to calm them. They beat me up, dragged me on the floor, tore my shirt and poured alcohol on my head.”
Policemen from the station led by the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Shittu Abioye, raced to the scene and arrested Gilbert and the fake soldiers at a nearby bar, where they had fled to. But, the fourth suspect, identified only as Charles, escaped.
It was gathered that several uniforms and a mask, among others, were recovered from Olanrewaju’s residence by the police.
Olanrewaju, 30, who said he was dismissed from the Nigerian Army in 2013, denied partaking in the assault.
Daniel, who hails from Enugu State, stated that he got the uniform from Olanrewaju, adding that Charles was a naval officer.
“I wore the uniform to avoid being harassed by security agents. I regret my action. It was Charles that beat them,” he said.
Cases of impersonation of security operatives are common in Nigeria when men in uniform are feared for their brutality on civilians. Some even impersonate high ranking security officers to perpetrate crimes.