Army recruitment exercise unveils impostor scandal sparks outcry

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Yesterday witnessed a surge of outrage from various quarters, including the Nigerian Army, Lagos State Government, Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area, former Minister of Communications Maj. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju (retd), and other stakeholders, in response to a viral video. The footage depicted individuals from northern Nigeria seeking enlistment into the Army while posing as Lagos indigenes.

Notable stakeholders, such as the Middle-Belt Forum (MBF), Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Afenifere (Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization), and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), expressed their concerns about the video.

The recruits in the video claimed to be from Kaduna State, unable to converse in the Yoruba language, yet presented certificates indicating ties to Kosofe and Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Areas as part of their attempt to secure Army recruitment.

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Maj. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju, a former General Officer Commanding (GOC), Third Armoured Division, Nigerian Army, condemned the video as a significant blow to the national goal of achieving peace and unity. He called for an investigation into the recruitment slots for Lagos indigenes, urging Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to intervene.

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Olanrewaju emphasized the need for a thorough examination of the situation, suggesting that the chairman of Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area step aside to facilitate an unbiased investigation. He criticized the procedural flaws in the ongoing indigenes’ recruitment in Lagos State into the Nigerian Army, deeming it constitutionally and democratically unacceptable.

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In a statement, Olanrewaju urged the Lagos State government and responsible agencies to prevent the issuance of fake indigene identity to non-indigenous residents in Lagos. He raised concerns about the porous nature of the indigeneship application process, advocating for a secure and stringent verification system to safeguard the rights of true Lagos indigenes.

The former minister asserted that the issues highlighted in the video were traced to Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, despite attempts by the local government’s executive chairman’s media office to deny involvement. He called for accountability among local government officials and emphasized the vulnerability of the indigeneship application process to manipulation.

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Otunba Kehinde Oloyede, the chairman of Oshodi-Isolo LGA, responded to the video by ordering a thorough investigation. He denounced the issuance of indigeneship letters to non-indigenes and vowed to ensure that those responsible face legal consequences. Oloyede expressed his commitment to uncovering the truth and maintaining the integrity of the local government.

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