The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta Bello, has given credit to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) with the drastic reduction of open bribery and corruption at the International Airports in the country.
Binta stated this at the weekend during ICPC stakeholders’ inception meeting on Corruption Risk Assessment in aviation sector held at NCAA Anex Murtala Muhammed Airport.
She noted that passengers coming into the country were now testifying of the good conducts by the airport officials as against the open bribery and corruption known hitherto at the airports.
The permanent secretary said the stakeholders’ meeting was part of efforts to fight corruption in the aviation sector, commending ICPC for the initiative and partnership.
Over 200 stakeholders attended the interactive session whose members were drawn from NDLEA, FAAN, Customs, NAMA, Nigerian Quarantine Service ,AIB, Immigration and Travel Agents.
“We cannot do it alone, hence our partnership with ICPC. We started this partnership since 2014 October, there had been tremendous changes in the attitude of our officials, particularly in Lagos and Abuja airports.
“This meeting is on the risk assessment to be carried out in all the aviation agencies. The collaboration between aviation and ICPC is working,” she said.
Ekpo Nta, Chairman, ICPC as one of the key moderators said the reason why the commission was paying attention to the aviation was because airports were the gateways to international community.
“International Airports are first point of contact to the outside world. It speaks volumes about Nigeria’s image.”
Nta expressed the hope that after the corruption risk assessments in all the aviation agencies, open corruption by officials would be a thing of the past in all airports in Nigeria.
“We hope to achieve the same standard of services offered in any recognised airport in the world. When corruption is eliminated in the aviation sector, passenger would have safety.
“I am very happy at the state of affairs at our airport. The days when officials openly demand for bribe are gone,” he said.
The anti graft boss, however, reiterated that the risk assessment was not in any way an investigation into the agencies concern, stressing that similar thing was done in the education sector.
Nta said the commission would not station any of his officials permanently at the airport, stressing that the commission was carrying out one of its mandates of enlightenment for attitudinal change among Nigerians to curb corruption.
He called on all security agencies at various airports to ensure they discharged their duties optimally with screening of passengers which must be all inclusive not excluding their bosses while passing through the airports.
Nta who described the car hire service operators as the best Public Relations Officers at the airport, urged them to represent the nation well, particularly before foreigners coming into the country.