The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a 31-year-old man, Harry Perry Obiajuru for impersonation and parading himself as a Colonel in the Nigerian Army to molest and extort unsuspecting members of the public.
Guardian reports that the suspect who is popularly known as ‘Colonel Harry’, was arrested with two equally fake soldiers who posed as his orderlies and usually drove in cars with concealed plate number with the United Nations cover permits.
Nemesis, however, caught up with Obiajuru when he was arrested by the police in the Shasha area of the state.
When the police searched his apartment, a pump action rifle, two military camouflage caps, a sword, horsewhip, and two vehicle plate covers on which were inscribed UN Officers car park permit were recovered.
A statement by the police reveal that in February 2018, Obiajuru and his two fake soldiers had stormed a hotel in Shasha to confront four youths who had lodged in the hotel for some days without paying and reportedly beat them with horsewhip before dragging them out of the hotel, when they claimed they were not with cash.
They allegedly forced the lodgers to use the hotel’s POS to withdraw N15,000 out of the N18,000 owed. The self-acclaimed military men were alleged to have collected the phones and laptops of the victims in place of the balance of N3,000.
However, the bubble burst after Obiajuru visited a friend’s party in Shasha where he was confronted by one of the victims who identified him and descended on him. He was on the verge of being lynched when policemen from Shasha Division arrived the scene and rescued him from the irate youths.
During preliminary investigation, it was discovered that he was a fake military man while the two ‘soldiers’ he often accompanied him had been dismissed from the force a long time ago.
During interrogation, Obiajuru who claimed to be the coordinator of Harry Foundation, a charity organization based in Shasha, denied masquerading as a Colonel but said that people only called him Colonel because some members of his family were in the military.
“I am not a Colonel and the soldiers in question are not my orderlies. They (soldiers) brought a car to me in February this year that they wanted to sell. I contacted one of my aunties who said I should bring the car, a Lexus, for her to see. I took the car to her in the company of the soldiers, but she said it was too small, that she needed an SUV.
On our way back, I got a call from a friend who said his sister, the owner of New Moon Hotel was in distress. When we got there, we discovered that some lodgers refused to pay her for the four nights they spent.
The soldiers banged on the door of the room they were but the youths refused to open until the soldiers announced they were there with their boss, a Colonel.
When they opened the door, the soldiers flogged them with the horsewhips. They could only pay N15,000 while one of the soldiers paid the balance of N3, 000. In return, he collected the items from the youths and drove off.
I later received a call from the friend that earlier called me to save his sister. He instructed me to refund all the items to the boys that they had gone to the hotel to make trouble.
Immediately, I drove to where the soldiers were but they only gave me a laptop and went with the rest of the items. But the boys kept mounting pressure on the owner of the hotel, thereby forcing me to go look for the soldiers at Ojo Barracks to collect the seized items from them but I was told they were not there.
It was when I got to Badagry Barracks that the commander told me the soldiers had been dismissed from the force.
When the pressure to return the seized item became unbearable, I was asked to pay N300,000, estimated as the cost of the seized items. By March 2018, I paid N150,000 out of amount and I was given up till July to pay the balance.
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But I traveled to the village and returned at the end of August. To my shock, the boys called cultists to descend on me when I attended a friend’ s party.”
On how he came about the pump-action riffle, Obiajuru said a friend gave it to him and claimed the soldiers left the military camouflage caps and the horsewhip when they visited him.
On the UN plate cover permit, he claimed that he got it during a seven-year voluntary peace-keeping mission as an observer.