The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said it has arrested five suspected syndicates, forging fake COVID-19 certificates.
Five persons have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command over fake COVID-19 results at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) while two others are still at large.
The Commissioner of Police, Airport Command and Aviation Security (AVSEC ), Umar Bature, disclosed the arrest on Thursday at a news briefing held at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos.
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.
The government warned that processes were being put in place to clamp down on both buyers and sellers.
“On Feb. 18, Popoola Adewale and Adeola Darlington who have access to all the nooks and crannies of the international airport, approached one Michael Osagbogu who was on a queue of a London bound aircraft and allegedly offered to help him procure COVID-19 certificate.
“They, however, cornered the passenger to an isolated toilet at the airport where N50, 000 was extorted from him.
“Thereafter, the victim was handed over to Shehu Imam who took him to Archibong Idorenyin, owner of the internet cafe at 4, Oriyomi Street Ikeja.”
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.
He also said the suspects confessed to the crime and exhibits, including N50,000 and laptops used to generate the fake COVID-19 certificates as well as the certificates being used as exhibits.
“They will soon be charged to court where justice will take its course,” Mr Umar said.
The airport police command warned the public to follow due process in obtaining or procuring COVID-19 certificates to avoid unscrupulous syndicates.