The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has said that the issue of extortion of passengers by officials of government agencies at the airports is beyond the ministry’s control.

Keyamo, who stated this in a post on X on Sunday, said he had been receiving calls from concerned members of the public over the menace, which according to him, had been maligning Nigeria’s public image.

He noted that most of the agencies involved in this act are not under the control of the Aviation Ministry, though they are stationed at the airports.

He said, “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.

“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.

Keyamo, however, added that the ministry is working with the relevant arms of government and agencies to find solutions to the complaints.

He said, “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.

“We are all working under the coordination of the National Security Adviser who called a meeting a few days ago on this issue and we shall soon unveil practical steps being taken to stem this ugly tide. We thank Nigerians for their eternal vigilance on this issue.”

The minister’s reaction comes as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, on June 14, issued a warning to airport users against offering bribes and encouraging extortion.

The agency stated that any staff or government agency operating at the airports found guilty of accepting bribes would face punishment.

The agency also announced the launch of a task force to eliminate touting, extortion, and other illicit activities at airports nationwide.

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