FG Vows To Sanction Security Agencies Heads Over Extortion At Airport

Lagos Airport

The Federal Govern­ment has threatened to sanction all mil­itary and paramil­itary heads at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, over consistent extortion of air travellers and bribery.

This is as the Federal Air­ports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said that no few­er than additional six staff of various security agencies and organisations had been caught on camera extorting air travellers.

Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, Man­aging Director of FAAN, said that the agency would forward the details of the security officers to their various headquarters, while also alerting the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) for appropriate ac­tion.

Speaking on Wednesday at the international wing of the Lagos airport, during the training powered by the Presi­dential Enabling Business En­vironment Council (PEBEC) and FAAN, Dr. Olajumoke Oduwole, the Presidential Adviser on Ease-of-Doing- Business, expressed sadness over the poor image of Nige­ria outside the country.

Oduwole lamented the con­duct of most of the officers at the airport and threatened that the government would not hesitate to sanction any officer who is found wanting.

She challenged the senior officers of each security agen­cies at the airport to monitor the conduct of the rank and file in the system who she said continued to seek bribe from travellers, including for­eigners who were visiting the country for the first time.

“This Lagos airport is a national disgrace. Some of you could not look at me in the face when the videos were being played. It is either you are a part of the rot or you allow the rot to continue. The people in this room today are responsible for the disgrace­ful act we have been recording at this airport.

“I have travelled through this airport at various times and I can tell you that this airport is like a zoo. In fact, a market place is better than this place. We are all respon­sible because we are the lead­ers. I don’t even want to talk about Europe, let us look at the various African countries, their airports may be small, but the people there act like human beings.

Why are we like this here? Any officer that can’t control his rank and file will definite­ly be changed because that is what the head at the Villa (Presidential Villa) is com­mitted to. I can’t say there are no challenges here, but it’s all about personal values and pride. We will all look ourselves in the eyes. We are living like animals in this air­port from the toilet to the way we treat people,” she said.

Oduwole, however, com­mended the National Assem­bly for initiating the bill that would lead to the centralisa­tion of security screening checkpoints at the nation’s airports, saying this would go a long way in solving the present bottlenecks.

Besides, Yadudu said that no fewer than six various se­curity officials at the airport had been caught on camera soliciting for alms from the travelling public.

According to him, the names would be forwarded to their headquarters and the Office of the National Secu­rity Adviser for appropriate action.

He, however, appealed to the senior officers present at the training to transmit the knowledge garnered from the training to the lower cadre.

Yadudu charged all the heads to contribute to the development of the aviation sector in order to deliver ex­cellent services to the travel­ling public.

He charged government agencies at the airport to put national interest far and above service mandate in order to improve the image of Nigeria in the comity of nations, maintaining that all the agencies’ mandates are critical to the development of the industry.

He warned that recent conduct could lead to the blacklisting of Nigeria by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

He said: “We must put the national interest first in all we do. We need to work with ourselves. We want one end result in all we do. FAAN will never tell you to violate your mandate; we have an obliga­tion to make you achieve com­petence and efficiency.

“If Nigeria is blacklisted today, no foreign airline can come in again and this will be a big disservice to everyone. We don’t want to be the one to contribute to the blacklisting of Nigeria. We are all expect­ed to enforce discipline.”

Earlier, Mrs. Victoria Shin- Aba, the General Manager, South West Airports, said that the training was important to tackle the recent challenges in the system.

She insisted that without a good structure, the Ease-of- Doing-Business policy of the Federal Government would be defeated.

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