The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has disclosed that two persons have been arrested and detained by Nigerian Police for allegedly issuing fake COVID-19 test results with the institute’s name.
As gathered, the suspects, Enoch Basyan and Fazing Binrah, were caught while trying to issue COVID-19 test result to a staff of the institution, who acted as a patient at a bank at Isolo.
Confirming the arrest on Friday, Director-General of NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, disclosed that the suspects were currently cooling off at Aswani Police Station and would be arraigned soon to serve as deterrent to others.
Salako added that the suspects in their confessional statement revealed that they visited the institute several weeks ago and left with its testing request form under the guise of coming for COVID-19 test.
He said: “One of our staff who is in charge of the test request form who is currently being interrogated admitted he mistakenly gave out the forms to some individuals who made away with it without trace.
“If our staff is found guilty in the ongoing interrogation, the staff will be sanctioned in accordance to the extant rules guiding such offence.
Salako further hinted that the development was responsible for the actions taken by NIMR to check some loopholes in its procedure before testing.
“This development has shown some gaps in the COVID-19 response in our institution; from now on, photo identification will be required together with an invitation letter to be admitted for testing.
“All COVID-19 results from NIMR will be sent electronically using our official email; therefore, any results emanating from any source other than our official website is not our result,” he added.
The NIMR boss, during a press briefing on outcome of an investigation carried out to determine the credibility of reports on the institution’s issuance of COVID-19 test result, stated that NIMR would not accept any act that that negates standards set by the Federal Government.
On how the suspects were apprehended, he noted that after the Lagos State Government raised concerns on the test results, NIMR inaugurated an investigative committee headed by Prof. Stella Smith, to come up with facts on the truism or otherwise of the allegation.
“A thorough investigation by the committee revealed that two individuals who were neither staff nor agents of NIMR are behind the issuance of the fake results without testing.
It would be recalled that the Lagos State Government had on Dec. 29, 2020 raised alarm over sales of fake COVID-19 test results in the state