The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta, said the agency is focusing on curbing of bribery at the airport to check acts capable of denting the nation’s image.
Nta said although ICPC was not out to put its operatives permanently at airports, the agency would rid these entry points of bad eggs.
He added that the airports serve as gateways to the country, adding that existence of corruption in these areas would speak volume about the country’s integrity.
He made the clarifications at ICPC stakeholders’ meeting on Corruption Risk Assessment in aviation sector at NCAA Annex Murtala Muhammed Airport.
A statement by the Resident Media Consultant to ICPC, Mr. Folu Olamiti, quoted Nta as saying: “The reason why the commission is paying attention to the aviation is because airports are the gateways to international community.
“International airports are first points of contact to the outside world. It speaks volumes about Nigeria’s image.
“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, passengers would have safety.
’’I am very happy at the state of affairs at our airports. The days when officials openly demand for bribe are gone.”
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.
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.
The commission, he added, was carrying out one of its mandates of enlightenment for attitudinal change among Nigerians to curb corruption.
He called on security agencies at airports to ensure they discharge their duties optimally with screening of passengers, which must be all inclusive of people 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.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta Bello, hailed the ICPC for the drastic reduction of open bribery and corruption at the international airports.
She said passengers coming into the country were now testifying to the good conduct of 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
Binta added: ‘’We cannot do it alone, hence our partnership with ICPC. Since we started this partnership since October 2014, 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.”
Over 200 stakeholders attended the interactive session.
Members were drawn from NDLEA, FAAN, Customs, NAMA, Nigerian Quarantine Service, AIB, Immigration and Travel Agents.