The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on Monday announced that it had arrested 90 persons at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for their involvements in fake COVID-19 test results, touting, among others.
It said the arrests were part of efforts to rid the nation’s airports of touting and extortion, following incessant complaints by travellers of being extorted by personnel at airports particularly since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, said in a statement that those arrested were caught carrying out nefarious activities at the airports.
She said, “The touts were arrested for various acts of illegality including fake COVID-19 test results, touting, unauthorised entry, trespass, illegal facilitation, forgery, loitering, theft, public nuisance and arguments, among others.
“Some of those arrested are staff of Patovilki Nigeria Limited, Lakewood Services, Nahco Plc and other airport staff.
“Of the total arrested, 59 were handed over to the airport police command in Abuja for prosecution, while 30 were handed over to the police force in Lagos for same.”
FAAN used the opportunity to warn people who do not have any legitimate business at airports, as well as airport staff carrying out illegal duties to desist from such acts.
Yakubu had told our correspondent recently that FAAN arrested some culprits involved the extortion of inbound passengers with respect to COVID-19 test.
She said some workers of FAAN and their accomplice from another agency at the Lagos airport were arrested late last month.
She said, “Of course, FAAN apprehended and suspended some officials caught extorting a passenger at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
“The officials, who are staff of Aviation Security and Customer Service departments of the authority were immediately suspended, while the On Duty Card of their accomplice from the Nigeria Immigration Service has been withdrawn.
“This action was taken to serve as deterrent to other bad eggs in the system that are bent on tarnishing the image of the nation.”
Yakubu said the move was line with management’s determination to rid the nation’s airport of corrupt officials.
On November 8, 2021, the Managing Director, FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, had declared that any public or private sector official at the airport found to be involved in whatever form of corrupt practice would lose his or her On Duty Card permanently.
He stated that this and other measures had become necessary following the repeated trending online videos of passengers who were allegedly extorted by airports’ personnel and the embarrassment which such videos had brought to the country.
Yadudu had disclosed this in Abuja after a meeting with security agencies and presidency officials on the eradication of indiscipline and other corrupt practices at airports.
Article first published on the Punch Website