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Aviation Minister Keyamo promises to tackle begging and extortion by officials at Nigeria’s international airports

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By Temi Olowu

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace, Festus Keyamo, has addressed rising concerns about begging and extortion at the country’s international airports by some unscrupulous airport officials and security agencies.

In a statement on his X platform on Sunday, Keyamo acknowledged receiving numerous complaints from well-meaning Nigerians about the activities of unscrupulous individuals tarnishing the nation’s image.

Keyamo clarified that most of the agencies involved in these activities are not under the control of the Aviation Ministry, despite being stationed at the airports.

However, he assured the public that he has been collaborating with other ministers, government arms, and relevant agencies to tackle the issue.

“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,” Keyamo wrote.

He noted that the National Security Adviser recently convened a meeting to address the problem, and practical steps to combat the issue will soon be unveiled. Keyamo expressed gratitude to Nigerians for their vigilance and ongoing reports on the matter.

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Nigeria’s international airports have long faced challenges related to begging and extortion, activities that tarnish the country’s image and inconvenience travelers.

These issues are not new but have been exacerbated in recent times, drawing increased public outcry.

Key Issues:

Begging and Extortion: Travelers frequently report being solicited for money by individuals posing as airport staff or officials. These activities not only create a negative impression but also undermine the security and orderliness expected at international airports.

Multiple Agencies: A significant part of the challenge stems from the fact that multiple agencies operate within Nigeria’s airports, including customs, immigration, and various security services. These agencies are not all directly controlled by the Ministry of Aviation, complicating efforts to address the problem.

Public Outcry: Social media platforms and direct complaints to the Ministry of Aviation have highlighted the urgency of the issue. Nigerians, both home and abroad, have been vocal about their dissatisfaction, prompting the government to take action.

Government Response: In response to these complaints, Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace, has taken a proactive stance. Despite the limited direct control his ministry has over the various agencies involved, Keyamo has been working in collaboration with other government officials and agencies to develop a comprehensive solution.

National Security Involvement: The coordination by the National Security Adviser underscores the seriousness with which the government is treating the issue. This involvement aims to ensure a cohesive and effective response across all relevant agencies.

Planned Measures: While specific measures have yet to be unveiled, the government’s acknowledgment and planned action signal a commitment to improving the situation. The anticipated practical steps are expected to address both the root causes and the manifestations of begging and extortion at the airports.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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