Emmanuel Anthony, a dismissed Lance Corporal, has said he deserted the army for fear of being killed by Boko Haram insurgents.
He was paraded at the 81 Division headquarters in Lagos along with 12 others, including three dismissed personnel arrested for similar offences.
The suspects are Abdullahi Mubarak, Ibeh Emeka, Olasunkanmi Olamide, Godwin Emmanuel, Private Ahmed Yahaya, Ale Ayokunle, Robert Danang, Corporal Abubakar Suleiman, Private Ibrahim Isah, Monday Ogar, Emeka Stephen and Bala Gabriel.
Anthony was alleged to have led a gang of fake soldiers, who had military uniforms, accoutrements, recruitment forms and identity cards in their possessions.
He said: “I was a Lance Corporal. I deserted the army in 2016. I ran from the Northeast where I was deployed to fight Boko Haram. I was given two weeks pass to go and see my family but I did not return.
I went to Akwa Ibom State and stayed there for over a month. I was declared wanted and the army arrested me. I was punished and sent back to the Northeast but I fled. I was afraid and did not want to fight Boko Haram.
When I was dismissed, I decided to pretend to be an officer. I impersonated an Army Lieutenant. I bought the uniform and the rank. I did fake identity card and also printed pass forms which I usually filled and stamped each time I went out to show any personnel who checked me.
I used to pretend to be an officer to escort Tokunbo vehicles from the border and I get paid for it.” General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Maj.-Gen. Enobong Udo, said the suspects were arrested at different locations within Lagos and Ogun states.