The Nigerian Army has claimed that the so called ”army officers” involved in electoral malpractice are not really army officers but are impostors posing to be part of the Nigerian army. Several men captured in videos wearing its uniform and involved in electoral offenses during last Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections were political thugs.
Video evidences circulating on social media platforms had shown armed men in army uniform, either directly involved in electoral offenses or aiding forms of irregularities in elections in Rivers State and others.
But in its response, the Army said in a statement on Sunday that intelligence available to it revealed that political thugs wore military uniform to perpetrate crimes during the elections.
Photo Source: Ripples.ng
In the statement released by acting director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, it claimed that some of the thugs been arrested and were giving useful information to the military.
According to Musa, many of the civilians caught in the crossfire could not differentiate between genuine soldiers and impersonators.
“Credible intelligence available to the army confirmed the kitting of political thugs with military uniform and arming of same to impersonate soldiers and perpetrate various crimes in the furtherance of the activities of their political bosses .
“These thugs were wrongly viewed as real military personnel on various social media channels. The army understands that most civilians caught in the callous onslaught of these murderous thugs might not be able to distinguish between a genuine soldier from an impersonator, especially when they are armed with military – type weapons.
“However , several arrested impostors have given useful information that has led to unravelling the level of criminal involvement of some politicians in arming thugs for their depraved selfish gains,” he said.
A military imposter is a person who makes false claims about his or her military service in civilian life. This includes claims by people that have never been in the military as well as lies or embellishments by genuine veterans. Some individuals who do this also wear privately obtained uniforms or medals which were never officially issued to them.
In British military slang, such imposters are called “Walts”, based on James Thurber’s fictional character, Walter Mitty, who daydreamed of being a war hero. In the United States since the early 2000s, the term “stolen valor” has become popular slang for this kind of behavior, so named for the 1998 book of that name. Other terms include “fake warriors”, “military phonies”, “medal cheats”, and “military posers”.
Lying about military service or wearing a uniform or medals that were not earned is criminalized in some circumstances, especially if done with the goal of obtaining money or any other kind of tangible benefit, though laws vary by country.
Military impostors engage in a broad range of deceptive behaviors, all intended to achieve recognition from others. An impostor may make verbal statements, written claims, or create deceptive impressions through actions, such as wearing a uniform, rank insignia, unit symbols, medals, or patches.
Generally impostors fall into two broad categories: civilians who have never been in any branch of the military, and real veterans who make false claims exaggerating their experiences or accomplishments. Impostors in the latter category may claim any of the following:
- Being the recipient of awards that were not earned
- Having a longer service duration
- Having a more favorable discharge
- Holding a higher rank than one actually held
- Having served with a different branch of the military
- Having served with a different unit that is more famous
- Being a different role or Military Occupational Specialty
- Involvement in a war or specific engagement one was not present for
- Performing a brave or valorous act that never happened
- Participation in “special” or “secret” operations
- Being a prisoner of war (POW).
While many individuals outright fabricate some or all of their military service history, others employ equivocation tactics or similarly misleading language that avoids making a technically false statement, but still gives a deceptive impression. A common example is stating one was in a branch of the military during a specific war. In many contexts, such a statement implies that the speaker was deployed to a combat zone, even if in reality never left their home country.
A similar misleading statement is boasting about being a member of a branch or unit that is well known for its combat prowess and heroic achievements, when the speaker was purely in a logistical role without any combat experience. Imposters also frequently claim to be part of “classified” operations as an excuse for why they cannot provide details or, when confronted, why there is no record of their actions or service.
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