By Emma Amaize and Akpokona Omafuaire
WARRI – THE Nigerian Army, 3 Battalion, Effurun Barrack in Delta State have arrested a 40-year-old self- styled Major, from Akwanga area of Nassarawa state for allegedly terrorizing the people of Opete community in Udu Council Area of the state over a piece of land.
Commanding Officer of the Battalion, Lt. Col Ifeanyi Otu, who paraded the suspect in Warri also said the suspect defrauded Oando Petrol Station, situated along Benin/Sapele Road, Effurun of unspecified amount of money.
According to out, the suspect was arrested after he called the Commanding Officer on phone, claiming to be a Navy Commander, Nayaya from the Defence Headquarters not knowing that the community had lodged a report against him.
When reporters confronted him on the alleged crime, the suspect said, “I am a businessman; I was arrested by Major Jida after the C.O called me on the phone that he wants to see me. I am not impersonating anybody.”
He however, recanted his statement later, saying, “I was afraid to say the truth, it is not long that I started this thing (impersonation) I have not collected money from people, I only wanted to threaten the community because of the land issue. Please kindly help me out.”
But, the president general of Opete community, Mr. Nathanael Otiri, said, “this man (pointing at the suspect) came to me on September 2, 2012, that he is a Major from 3 Battallion, that we should remove the Caveat Emptor signpost we placed in a government land to warn buyers or else he will come back with his men and deal with us”.
Oando representative, Solomon Oguma, told reporters that , “most times, he come to our station holding a staff in hand claiming to be a Major in the Army, we will then give him petrol, it has been so for over five months now.”
Otu however, warned the people to be careful in their dealings including those who claimed to be military officers. “This arrest is to create awareness and warned people to be careful in their dealings, I want Deltans to be wary and report such impostors to us just as Opete Community has done, ” he added.