25 September 2015

Nigeria: Extortion - FAAN Moves Against Corrupt Airport Security Officials

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) appears to be resolute in the clampdown on corrupt officials, who extort money from passengers. THISDAY checks revealed that the agency will on Monday issue a circular to all Aviation Security (AVSEC) officers, warning that anyone caught soliciting or extorting money from passengers from any of the airport terminals in the country would be summarily dismissed.

The clampdown, sources said, was in response to the avalanche of criticisms from the travelling public on the corrupt activities of AVSEC officials who man and screen passengers at the airports.

It was gathered that FAAN will also reinstate the policy of regular profiling of AVSEC officers with the aim of sacking anyone who is found wanting.

The agency, which had earlier awarded contract for comprehensive installation of close-circuit television in parts of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja would also institute a committee to monitor activities of AVSEC officials at all the airports in the country.

THISDAY learnt that FAAN resolved to take this drastic action in the face of numerous complaints it has received from Nigerians and the damage such illicit act has done to the image of the agency.

Spokesman of FAAN Yakubu Dati who confirmed the move said every stringent action would be taken by the agency to stop such obnoxious activities and assured Nigerians that any AVSEC official caught would be dealt with according to the law.

It has been established that AVSEC officials carry out this nefarious activities in connivance with other security operatives at the airports.

An inside source told THISDAY that already an AVSEC official, whose name was brought to FAAN management is currently under investigation and would be dismissed if found culpable.

A top official in FAAN once THISDAY that security agencies at the airport operate as a syndicate so they are all privy to the nefarious activities going on at the gate and other parts of the airport.

"They all work together. It will be good for the AVSEC to get a provost unit with the purpose to check sharp practices among security personnel at the airport," the official said.

At the domestic terminals where AVSEC officials are fully in charge of

screening passengers, extortion and soliciting for money is the order of the day and this is done unabashedly as if the officials were oblivious of the rules and regulations.

A senior AVSEC official told THISDAY exasperatedly that after many attempts to stamp out the illicit activities, the department decided to report the matter to the FAAN management where the matter is being addressed with the urgency it deserves.

To confirm that all the reports of corruption the agency was getting was true, THISDAY learnt that sometime ago FAAN reviewed recordings from CCTVs and it was established these officials extort passengers on a daily bases.

"So when such allegation comes we go back to CCTV, but the challenge we have is that many passengers who complain refuse to give names. To make our job easier, the passengers should help us with more information. We need evidence to take drastic action against the erring officers," the official said.


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