5 fake COVID-19 certificate ‘sellers’ arrested at Lagos Airport

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Five suspects at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) have been arrested for allegedly selling fake COVID-19 certificate at the airport.

They were arrested by the police at MMIA.

According to the police, two other suspects are still at large.

The suspects, Achibong Idonrenyin, Moses Samuel, Popoola Adewala, Wale Aderele and Abdulmalik Ibrahim, were paraded yesterday over alleged sale of fake certificate to unsuspecting travellers within the precinct of the airport.

The Airport Police Commissioner, Mr. Bature Umar also gave the names of the fleeing suspects as Shehu Imam and Adeola Dalington who work with a cleaning service at the airport.

Briefing newsmen at the airport, he disclosed that the incident occurred on February 19, 2021 at the airport where 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 negative certificate for him.

He added that two of the suspects, Popoola Adewale and Adeola Dalington, allegedly took the victim to a rest room within the airport where the sum of N50,000 was obtained from him for the ‘valid’ COVID-19 negative certificate.

Umar explained that one of the suspects, took the victim to DAT Cybercafe at No. 4, Oriyomi Street, Ikeja where a fake COVID-19 negative certificate was eventually procured for him.

It was however learnt that the victim was travelling to London, United Kingdom was denied boarding when the airline officials detected that he was holding fake COVID-19 certificate.

The Commissioner said 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.

Umar explained that the combined team of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Aviation Security (AVSEC), a department in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had to lay ambush for the suspects before they were arrested.

On interrogation, Umar explained that the suspects confessed to the crime, but claimed that it was there 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 the suspects would be charged to court on Friday while advising travelers to be wary of activities of criminals at the airport.