TIME was when Nigerians thought the only fake things in the country were drugs, food and cosmetics. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, brought the dangers of fake products to national attention. For most Nigerians only these products are fake.
We have made a lot of progress with fakes, some more dangerous than foods, cosmetics and drugs. Many things about us are now fake.
There are fake policemen. In fact a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State confirmed that there were not only fake policemen in the state at a point, but fake police stations. What these type of security agents do would be left to the fertile imagination of anyone.
Sometimes people are paraded on television as fake soldiers, usually impersonating some high ranks so they could dupe people. Similar instances abound of others, who stand by the road and fleece ordinary people of their money.
Nigerians should be very concerned about the new dimension of fake security agents as shown in the most recent riots in Jos. There have been allegations that many of those parading the streets of Jos in army uniforms are not genuine soldiers.
They use the cover of their uniforms to unleash mayhem on innocent people, who take them for agents of peace. This is not the first time the allegations of fake soldiers joining the fray to the advantage of one group are being made.
When the 2008 riots broke out, some fake soldiers were arrested. None of those arrested was prosecuted. Of those arrested, 24 of them were taken to Abuja. Nothing was heard about them after their arrest.
There has been a proliferation of fake soldiers ever since. Their role in the raging inferno in Jos has been remarkable in the number of locations they appeared and the havoc they wrecked. There is cause to worry.
As the police is overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the riots, soldiers have been called in to take charge of security in Jos. This means the army would lead the security arrangements in Jos.
What are the implications for security in Jos, especially with some mercenaries in army uniforms taking sides in the conflict? How would the army determine who its real members are? Would Jos be safer when soldiers, fake and real are parading the streets to maintain peace?
The current situation calls for immediate remedies. People no longer feel safe with soldiers around them. They are justifiably scared that these could be enemies clothed in official uniforms.
It is time the military and other security agents dealt with fakes among their numbers. Fake security agents compromise security of the country vastly. They have to be smoked out.
The tendency is to treat the issue as if it is Josâ€™ problem. No, this is a national problem that is manifesting in Jos.