Five arrested over fake COVID-19 negative certificates at Lagos airport
The Police, Lagos Command has arrested and paraded five persons over fake COVID-19 results at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) while two others are still at large.
The suspects, Achibong Idonrenyin, Moses Samuel, Popoola Adewale, Wale Aderele and Abdulmalik Ibrahim, police said major in selling fake COVID-19 negative results to unsuspecting travellers within the international wing of the airport.
The suspects at large are; Shehu Imam and Adeola Darlington who works 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, Airports Command, said 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 negative certificate for him.
Two of the suspects, Popoola Adewale and Adeola Darlington, who knew the airport environment well due to the nature of their jobs at the airport, allegedly 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 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.
But, despite the payment of the sum, he said the victim who was on his way to London, the United Kingdom was denied boarding by the officials of the airline based on the fake COVID-19 negative certificate he presented at the counters.
He emphasised that 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 the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Aviation Security (AVSEC), a department in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) laid an 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, vowing that the command would not relent in his activities at exposing criminal activities within the airport.
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 an 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 paraded in the court of competent jurisdiction on Friday.
He advised the travelling public to the wary of activities of criminals within the airport.