A combined team of detectives attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Airport Command, Ikeja and the Aviation Security (AVSEC) of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) have arrested five suspected members of a syndicate specialising in producing fake COVID-19 certificates.
Of the five suspects, 35-year old Adewale Aderele is a guarantor to one of the suspects who is now at large.
The Commissioner of Police, Airport Police Command, CP, Abubakar Umar Bature, disclosed the arrest on Thursday during a press briefing held at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
The syndicate members include: Archibong Idorenyin, 34 years owner of DAT cybercafe who is alleged to forge the virological screening test results, as well as Abdulmalik Ibrahim (24) and Moses Sunday (20) who are staff of DAT Internet Cafe.
The other suspect is Popoola Adewale of Patovilki Airport cleaning services.
Two of the suspects, 35-year-old Shehu Imam and Adeola Darlington, are currently at large.
According to the Airport Police Command, the suspects also lure passengers to the airport to extort from these victims various sums, sometimes up to N50,000.
Explaining further, the CP said: “It started on 18th February, 2021 when the two men: Popoola Adewale and Adeola Darlington, who have access to all the nook and crannies of the international airport, approached one Michael Osagbogu who was on a queue of a London-bound aircraft, on the pretence of procuring a COVID-19 Certificate, if he was in need. Thereafter, they cornered the passenger to an isolated toilet where N50,000 was extorted from him. Thereafter, the victim was handed over to Shehu Imam, who took him to the owner of the internet Cafe at 4, Oriyomi Street, Ikeja, by name, Archibong Idorenyin.”
According to Umar, some of the suspects had taken to their heels but concerted efforts were being made to track them down.
He also informed that the suspects confessed to the crime.
Exhibits, including N50,000 cash and laptops used to generate the fake COVID-19 Certificates, as well as the certificates, were being used as exhibits.
They will soon be charged to court where justice will take its course,” Umar promised.
The Airport Police Command equally warned that the public should follow due process in obtaining or procuring COVID-19 certificates so as not to fall victim to unscrupulous syndicates.