March 4, 2021
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By ANTHONY AWUNOR, Lagos

A combined team of detectives attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Airport Command, and Aviation Security (AVSEC) of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN ) have arrested 5 suspected syndicates which specialise in forging fake Covid-19 certificates.

Out of the five suspects, 35-year old Adewale Aderele is a guarantor to one of the suspects who is now at large.

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The Commissioner of Police, Airport Police Command, CP, Abubakar Umar Bature disclosed the arrest Thursday during a press briefing held at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

The syndicates include: Archibong Idorenyin, 34 years owner of DAT cybercafe who is alleged to forge the virological screening test results; 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 alleged as the one who takes illicit assignment from the airport to DAT internet Cafe for the generation of the fake COVID-19 Certificates and Adeola Darlington of Skyblue services limited are now at large.

According to the Airport Police Command, they are also the ones luring passengers to the airport where various sums are extorted from them. In this case, N50, 000 (fifty thousand Naira).

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 London bound aircraft and at the pretence of procuring 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 have taken to their heels but concerted efforts are being made to track them down.

He also informed that 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 are 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 Certificate to avoid unscrupulous syndicates.

The command stated that the suspects will be charged to court on Friday morning.

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