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Keyamo unveils plan to tackle begging at nation’s airports

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo SAN, has given indications that his ministry was working on a plan to stem the vexatious in extortion and begging in the country’s airports.

He, however, acknowledged that the act was outside the ministry’s control.

Posting on X on Sunday, Keyamo said he has been collaborating with other ministers who are responsible for these agencies to find a solution to curb the menace.

The minister’s statement followed several complaints of the act by travellers.

“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,” the minister said.

“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.”

The minister also said the ministry is also working under the coordination of the National Security Adviser, NSA, on this issue and will soon unveil practical steps “to stem this ugly tide.”

The menace of begging and extortion in airports has been a source of worry for the federal government recently.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, on June 14, warned airport users against offering bribes and encouraging extortion.

The FAAN said any staff or government agency operating at the airports found guilty of accepting bribes will be punished.

On June 22, the agency said it has launched a task force to eliminate touting, extortion, and other illicit activities in airports across the country.

The authority said the task force has been mandated to enforce discipline among airport staff and maintain a culture of professionalism at all levels.

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