By Lawani Mikairu
Five Covid-19 certificate forgers have been arrested and paraded by the Nigeria Police at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. Two members of the syndicates are , however, I still at large.
The paraded suspects , Achibong Idonrenyin, Moses Samuel, Popoola Adewala, Wale Aderele and Abdulmalik Ibrahim, according to the police, specialise in selling fake Covid-19 positive certificates to unsuspecting travellers within the international wing of the Lagos airport.
Other suspects at large are Shehu Imam and Adeola Dalington who work with Sky Blue Services limited, a cleaning service at the airport.
Briefing journalists on Thursday in his office at the airport, Mr. Bature Umar, the Commissioner of Police, Airports Command, said that the incident occurred on February 19, 2021 at the airport when a British Airways passenger, Michael Osagbogun was defrauded of the sum of N50,000 for Covid-19 test.
According to the Commissioner, one of the suspects had approached Osagbogun promising to produce a Covid-19 test positive certificate for him.
” Two of the suspects, Popoola Adewale and Adeola Dalington, who knew the airport environment well due to the nature of their jobs at the airport, took the victim to one of the toilet facilities at the airport where the sum of N50,000 was obtained from him under the pretext of producing a valid Covid-19 positive certificate for the victim.”
Umar further explained that one of the suspects, took the victim to DAT Cybercafe at No. 4, Oriyomi Street, Ikeja where a fake Covid-19 positive certificate was eventually procured for him.
” But despite the payment of the sum, the victim who was on his way to London, United Kingdom was denied boarding by the officials of the airline based on the fake Covid-19 positive certificate he presented at the counters.”
“The victim immediately raised the alarm, which led to the arrest of four suspects and a guarantor to one of the two suspects at large,” he said.
Umar also explained that the combined team of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Aviation Security (AVSEC), a department in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) layed ambush for the suspects before they could be arrested.
On interrogation, Umar explained that the suspects confessed to the crime, but claimed that it was their first time of engaging in the criminal activity.
He, however, said that further investigations by the police revealed that the suspects had been in the heinous crime for several months.
He said: “Upon interrogation, the suspects confessed to the crime and the sum of N50,000, which they obtained from the victim was recovered from them, while the computer used for the crime has been impounded and will be used as exhibit in the court of law.
“The passenger as far as we are concerned is a victim. He was the one that reported the case to us after he was denied boarding by the officials of the airline. So far, the suspects are providing information that will aid investigation to the police.”
He said that the suspects would be arraigned in a court of competent jurisdiction on Friday.