By Evelyn Usman
There is no distinctivefeature that would pass47- year- old Oluwaseun Hassan for a fake AirForce personnel. From his calm disposition to his neatly- ironed uniform, coupled with the rank of a Group Captain, not even those in the Military circle can pass him for a fake officer.
Several times, he has received salute from junior ranks and even from officers of same rank both within the Military and paramilitary circles.
But the usual honor hitherto accorded to Oluwaseun turned the opposite, on Tuesday after he was discovered not to have even attended any Military school, let alone being enlisted into the Military at any given time. He was subsequently arrested by men of the OP MESA of 9 Brigade, Ikeja cantonment, at Fagba , in Agege area of Lagos, inside a Toyota Camry car with plate number CN 323 APP.
In this interview with Crime Guard, Oluwaseun, a native of Ipetumodu, in Ijesha Local Government Area of Osun State who, have reportedly been arrested twice over similar issue,Â revealed how he stole the uniforms from his relatives three years ago and had since been impersonating a Group Captain in the Nigerian AirForce , with complementary cards on which he referred to himself as a â€˜pilot to former Military head of State, retired General Ibrahim Babangidaâ€™.
I STOLE THE UNIFORM
â€œ I have three brothers who are Air Force personnel and they are all retired now.Â I actually stole the uniform from their house whenÂ I was staying with them.. I particularly took the uniform of one of them who was a group Captain. I am not using the uniform to steal.
I only use it to clear my cars from Cotonou. I am a car dealer and whenever I am going to buy cars from Cotonou,Â I would go in my vehicle because I live in Cotonou and I would hang my uniform inside the car. On reaching Seme border, after I would have driven past the border, I would go to theÂ Comptroller of Customs , introducing myself as an Air force personnel.Â That way, they would wave aside certain amount fo meâ€.
Asked if he was aware that his act was illegal, he responded in the affirmative, saying, â€œ I only use such means to avoid been stopped on the road by security operatives along the Lagos Badagry expressway. After selling the car, I would return back to Cotonouâ€.
People living in his vicinity, particularly at Magboro road, along Lagos/Ibadan expressway, where he claims to always put up whenever he comes to sell cars, address him as a Military man , a development that resulted in some concerned parents solicitingÂ his assistance for the admission of their children into the Military.
Two of his victims, have reportedly lost huge sums of money which they claimed to have given to the presumed Group Captain for their childrenâ€™s admission. One of the victims is a traditional head in Agege area of Lagos who claimed, the suspect collected N350,000 for the enlistment of his son into Army.
Reacting to the claim, Oluwaseun stated, â€œ the amount was not N350,000. I did not swindle him either. It was a transaction we both entered into.Â He approached me and said he would want his son to go to the Nigeria Defense Academy(NDA) and I told him I would help him but that it would require some money.
The first payment he made was N10,000 for the form which I bought . Later, I told him to give me N120,000 to facilitate his admission , which he did. But when I got that money, I had a problem with my car and I used the money to work on the vehicle but could not tell the Seriki (victim) I had spent the money.
Rather, I forged an NDA admission letter which I gave him, informing him that the son had been admitted but that I needed another N120,000 to finalize the arrangement which in actual fact he gave to me. The son actually wrote the examination last Saturday and by the Grace of God, I can help him facilitate the admission.
But as for the second person who claimed she gave me N500, 000, it is a lieâ€
ARRESTED AND BAILED ON TWO OCCASIONS
Oluwaseun who claimed to be an orphan and a childless father , owing to the death of his wife and two children in the 2002 Ikeja bomb blast, a development he said, necessitated his relocating to Benin Republic, has reportedly been arrested twice for similar reasons.
On why he had to go back to his vomit after been cautioned and a promise by him to turn a leaf, he responded, â€œ I was not arrested with this full regalia. I was only arrested in Military short. It was in 2007.
But I am now ready to turn a new leaf.Â Â In fact, I am ready to sign an undertaken not to indulge in such illegal act again. I will appreciate if my stepÂ father will be there to stand as a witness. I promise not to repeat this again and if I do not keep to my promise , I should be shot dead when next I am caught. If I am allowed to go scot- free, I promise I will go to the village and become a farmerâ€
ARREST OF HIS ORDERLY
Arrested alongside Oluwaseun was one Makinde Oluwaseun said to be his orderly. Makinde as expected , held the briefcase of his oga even when he was about to be handed over to the police. He was arrested right inside Oluwaseunâ€™s Toyota Camry car in his full Man O War kitt..
ButÂ Makinde,Â denied ever working for Oluwaseun ,claiming the second time he met with him was when they were apprehended by men of OP MESA.
SAW HIM AS A SAVIOR
Explaining how he came in contact with Oluwaseun, he said, â€œ the first time I saw him was when I came out of the Man O WarÂ camp to eat. He beckoned on me and followed me to the canteen where he bought me food.
I felt honored that a senior officer could come down to my level. During discussion, he told me he could help me into the Military, an information that got me elated because I had applied four times for Military job to no avail. I saw him as a savior and concluded that perhapsÂ God wanted to use him to answer my prayers.
At the canteen, he bought me a big stout but I could not drink because I do not take alcohol.Â Â But I could not tell him.
I managed to finish it in order to please him.Â Again, he bought another bottle and at that point, I had to look for a place to force myself to throw up and also discharge the contents of the first bottle. By the time he brought the third bottle, I told him I was leaving and went back to the camp.
After that meeting, I was praying that God should put me in the officerâ€™s memory. Only three days ago, he called me with a foreign number informing me that he would be coming from Cotonou that day and that he would want me to accompany him to his farmland.
Unfortunately for me, I had a feverish condition and as such could not even get up from the bed. When he eventually arrived Lagos, he called me . I did not want to go at first but I thought perhaps, I could use that opportunity to remind him of his promise of helping me get intoÂ the Military. When I joined him , I informed him I was not feeling too well and he promised he would dropÂ me off at Fagba.
But on getting close to where I was to alight, an OP MESA vehicle blocked ours and commanded us to come out of the car. I was shocked and at the same time marveled at the effrontery of the Lance Corporal, wondering why they would have to give directive to a senior officer in the military.
I got down and even made attempt to approach one o f them in a friendly manner but when they attempted to shoot , I maintained my cool. It was not until I got here that I realized that my presumed savior was not anything close to itâ€.
Surprisingly, the suspect, Oluwaseun admitted not to have had any dealing with Makinde, pleading that he should be released while he be made to pay for an offence he alone committed.
At a point, Makinde burst into tears , expressing regret over what he described as his gullible mindedness. â€œ If I had known he was not a real Air Force Personnel , IÂ would have not gone out to meet him the second time .My regret is that I would be seen in the papers and television not as a star . What good will that bring to my poor family?
Spokesman for Brigade 9, Captain Olaolu Daudu said the suspects would be handed over to the police for further investigation, calling on members of the public to avail the Military with information that could lead to the apprehension of those who are in the habit of denting the image of the disciplined Force, noting that â€œ but for information, this man would still be parading himself as a Group Captainâ€.