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Airport extortion beyond aviation ministry’s control – Keyamo - PUNCH

JUNE 24, 2024

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has said the issue of extortion of passengers by officials of government agencies at the nation’s airports is beyond the ministry’s control.

Keyamo, who stated this in a post on X on Sunday, however said the aviation ministry was working with other ministers responsible for the affected agencies to find a lasting solution to the problem.

The minister’s statement came in response to numerous complaints by travelers over alleged extortion by officials at the airport.

“I have received several complaints about the menace of begging and extortion at our International airports by a few unscrupulous persons who give all of us a bad image,” Keyamo said.

He added, “My phones are beeping every minute with messages about this from well-meaning Nigerians. Just to set the records straight, most of the agencies involved in this menace are not under the control of the aviation ministry, though they are stationed at our airports.

“However, I have been working closely with other ministers, arms of government and agencies who are responsible for these agencies and a solution is in sight soon.”

He mentioned that the ministry was collaborating with the National Security Adviser on the issue, adding that he would soon announce practical steps to “stem this ugly tide.”

The problem of begging and extortion at the nation’s airports has recently become a major concern for the Federal Government.

Recall that on June 14, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria issued a warning to airport users against offering bribes and encouraging extortion.

The agency stated that any staff or government agency operating at the airports found guilty of accepting bribes would face punishment.

The agency also announced the launch of a task force to eliminate touting, extortion, and other illicit activities at airports nationwide.

The authority stated that the task force had been assigned the responsibility of enforcing discipline among airport staff and fostering a culture of professionalism at all levels.


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