A dismissed Lance Corporal, Emmanuel Anthony, yesterday said he deserted the army for fear of being killed by Boko Haram insurgents.
He was paraded at the 81 Division headquarters in Lagos along with 12 others, including three dismissed personnel arrested for similar offences.
Anthony was alleged to have led a gang of fake soldiers, who had military uniforms, accoutrements, recruitment forms and identity cards in their possessions.
According to him, he fled the army in 2016 when he was posted to the Northeast.
“I was a Lance Corporal. I deserted the army in 2016. I ran from the Northeast where I was deployed to fight Boko Haram. I was given two weeks pass to go and see my family but I did not return.
“I went to Akwa Ibom State and stayed there for over a month. I was declared wanted and the army arrested me. I was punished and sent back to the Northeast but I fled. I was afraid and did not want to fight Boko Haram.
“When I was dismissed, I decided to pretend to be an officer. I impersonated an Army Lieutenant. I bought the uniform and the rank. I did fake identity card and also printed pass forms which I usually filled and stamped each time I went out to show any personnel who checked me.
“I used to pretend to be an officer to escort Tokunbo vehicles from the border and I get paid for it. Yes I saved army recruitment form in a flash drive. I did it because someone requested for it and he was to pay me N3,000.”
The Army provided telephone numbers for reporting uniformed persons engaging in illegal acts.
“Those in Ojo should call 07069353889 and 08060492529; Badagry 07017064979; Victoria Island 08034347484; Ikeja 08065992320; Owode 08069097624; Ikorodu 08065806870; Obalende 07064281177; Ogun State 08053862233 and 08057705135,” he said.