David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Police in Anambra State have burst a four-man syndicate allegedly impersonating a government agency on COVID-19 in the state and recovered several surgical masks and hand sanitizers against Coronavirus, which they produced locally “under unhygienic conditions.”
The suspects were said to have been arrested following an intelligence report to police operatives attached to Central Police Station, Onitsha.
Confirming the report, the police public relations officer in the state, Mr Haruna Muhammed, a Superintendent of Police, gave names of the suspects as Anthony Chidubem Oyatubo, 30, of Nimo, Njikoka Local Government Area; Nwachukwu Chidi, 31, of Awka; Chris C. Okeke, 30, of Awka, and Olisa Muora, 25, of Onitsha. He said the suspects were arrested on March 31, 2020.
“Suspects, who allegedly claimed to be officials of the Ministry of health, fully kitted with reflective jackets and caps with inscriptions: “FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19”, were arrested with flyers, hand sanitizers and face masks, which they produced locally under unhygienic conditions and selling the products to the unsuspecting members of the public as well as distributing same to various outlets in Onitsha before their arrests.
“Meanwhile, preliminary investigation revealed that suspects were neither government workers nor health officials as they claimed but misguided elements who took advantage of the present pandemic situation to market their unhygienic products to the oblivious buyers,” Muhammed said.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects, according to the report, include three cartons of hand sanitizers, flyers, several reflective jackets, four caps and over 50 nose masks.
He said the case was under investigation after which suspects would be charged to court for prosecution.
He explained that the Commissioner of Police, John B. Abang, enjoined the public to be wary of such syndicates and refrain from patronising them in order not to expose themselves to other health hazards.