Nigerian Army made me go into extortion – Retired soldier

The suspect, Ali Audu

A mild drama occurred on Tuesday at the Ogun State Police Command Headquarters in Eleweran area of Abeokuta when a man who claimed to be a retired soldier said he resorted to dressing up as a serving officer and extorting motorists, because the Nigerian Army has failed to pay his retirement benefits.

The suspect, Ali Audu, during an interview with journalists said he had not been paid his gratuity and pension for over five months.

Mr. Audu was among 24 suspects paraded for various alleged offences ranging from armed robbery, cultism, murder, to kidnapping by the police in the state on Tuesday.

He confessed that he had been extorting motorists while dressed in military uniform “in order to keep body and soul together.”

The suspect who claimed to be have retired last year as a warrant officer, explained that his salary following 35 years in the military rose to N84, 000 before his retirement, adding that he did not have any savings because of having to take care of his wife and four children.

“I retired five months ago as a warrant officer in Calabar after entering Army in 1982. The truth is that I don’t have anything again to eat and using this uniform, drivers give me money like N1,500 to maintain myself. God Almighty Father knows I don’t have any problem with anybody,” he said.

“My last salary was N84, 000 and I was not making any savings. I have four children, they are in Jigawa State and I train them. Where would I get any savings? I haven’t been paid my pension and no gratuity and I need to maintain myself, that is why I used this initiative because I still have my uniform. Until they pay you in Nigerian Army, your uniform is still with you.”

The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ilyasu, at the event also disclosed that three members of a gang were arrested who allegedly engaged in hypnotising passengers and taking them to Automated Teller Machine points to withdraw cash from the victims’ bank accounts.

Mr. Ilyasu told journalists that the syndicate drove around cities in the state in a taxi cab, soliciting passengers to dupe. He named the suspects as Leonard Ifeanyi, Tajudeen Erinosho and Ashimiyu Olaniyan.

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