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Police arrest COVID-19 racketeers exposed by TheCable

Police arrest COVID-19 racketeers exposed by TheCable
March 04
22:07 2021

The police criminal investigation department (CID) of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has arrested five individuals said to be involved in issuing fake COVID-19 test results.

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Umar Bature, commissioner of police, airport command and aviation security (AVSEC), Lagos state, announced the arrests during a briefing on Thursday.

TheCable had, in a two-part report, exposed how travellers paid government officials to obtain fake coronavirus test certificates with positive diagnosis, to enable them travel through the airports in Abuja and Lagos.

The Lagos state government later set up a platform to verify coronavirus test results, while the federal government sealed one of the labs involved and also set up a panel to investigate the matter.

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NAN reports that among the five suspects include Archibong Idorenyin, 34-year-old owner of a cyber café where the certificates are allegedly being forged.

Also arrested were 24-year-old Abdulmalik Ibrahim and 20-year-old Moses Sunday — identified as staff members of the café — as well as Popoola Adewale, a worker at one of the airport cleaning companies. 

Adewale Aderele, aged 35, said to be a guarantor to one of the suspects now at large, was also one of those arrested.

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The police said two other suspects, Shehu Imam and Adeola Darlington, are at large.

“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,” the commissioner was quoted to have said:

“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.”

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The commissioner said the suspects confessed to forging the test results, and added that they will soon be charged to court to face justice.

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