The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has announced new measures and regulations geared towards reducing extortion of travellers by officials to its barest minimum at Nigerian airports.

This announcement was made by the Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, while addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday.

The FAAN MD said such regulations will go a long way in improving security and the integrity of the country's airports, as well as Nigeria’s reliability in the comity of nations. He said the first impression about a country is made at the airport and Nigeria must put her better foot forward in this regard. 

Regular flyers and airport visitors in Nigeria are known for their not so palatable tales about the disgraceful conduct of officials and workers at the airports in terms of extortion. Regrettably, it has also been observed that some Military men in and out of uniform are part of the scourge. 

This latest move by FAAN is a response to recent outcry over the illegal and disgraceful conducts of some of these airport officials who usually throw caution in the air while making travellers part with their hard earned monies, under various guises.

The monster reared its ugly head again on the 26th of October, but this time, it costs the country some bad press and international embarrassment. An American lady, Alina Oliver took to the internet to describe her experience with airport officials at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

The video is still a subject of discussion among diaspora Nigerians till date. In the Tiktok video, the American detailed how officials at the MMIA, Ikeja "Traumatised and made her cry" over her COVID 19 tests requirements. She also said some unprintable things in the three episodes posts.

In his address, Yadudu said, “We plan to have a meeting with the airports regional managers and the Head of Departments (HODs). After the meeting with the HODs, they will meet with their stakeholders, then the agencies.

“Primarily, to inform them that henceforth, any violator will lose his or her ODC (on duty card) which means you lose your access card to the terminal. And we agreed that once you lose your ODC at the airport, you will not get it back. If it is a company, we will advise them to get a new staff. If it is an agency, we will advise them to get another personnel.’’

The FAAN boss said that henceforth, all airport personnel, including private or Government staffs must wear a tag with their names, offices and designation boldly written displayed."

He added that those whose names were not boldly displayed on their clothes and uniforms would lose their jobs. He also said a WhatsApp number where victims can send a complain to will be made available at the airports soon.

If you see the name of the person (violator), put his name and the act of violation. We will get back to you through your number. The ssanctios will be permanent. This is just the beginning of our strategy. If anyone loses his or her job I, think he or she will not try evil again.

“You can see we have the all relevant officers here, all the regional managers, security chiefs are here, and leaders of operation are here. So, the implementation is immediate.’’

He said his administration is leaving no stone unturned in the quest to nip the illegality in the bud at Nigerian airports.

Stakeholders have also urged the Federal Government to see this move by FAAN as a curtain raiser and a step in the right direction, as far as reducing the scourge of extortion at the country's airports is concerned.

There are other salient issues like increased wages and the introduction of more technology in operations, but this is obviously a good way to start.

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