Reps calls for probe of alleged intimidation, extortion by security personnel at Lagos airport

 

The House of Representatives has urged the Ministry of Aviation to promptly launch an investigation into allegations of reoccurring incidents of harassment, intimidation, and extortion of international passengers by security personnel at the Port Harcourt International Airport.

The House said that this would bring the perpetrators to justice, act as a deterrent, and preserve the credibility of the country in the global community.

The House mandated the Committee on Aviation to within seven days investigate the activities of the security personnel attached to the international wing of airports nationwide.

The committee is to bring the culprits to face the law, and report within four weeks for further legislative action.

These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion titled, “Need to Address the Reoccurring Incidents of Harassment, Intimidation, and Extortion of International Passengers at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Port Harcourt” sponsored by Hon. Boniface S. Emerngwa.

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The House noted that international airports throughout the globe are gateways into a country.

It said the safety of travellers as well as cargo is the main responsibility of officers attached to airports.

The House added that across the country, airports have consistently displayed high-security performance by the security officers on duty.

It also noted that some security personnel on duty at Nigeria’s international airports constitute major setbacks to the country, especially in the case of the international wing of International Airport Port Harcourt, where passengers arriving are exposed to severe harassment, intimidation, and extortion of money by the security personnel at the airport.

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It observed that international travellers in particular are frequently forced to provide receipts for any personal belongings in their luggage and are the targets of extortion, charges, and excessive searches;

It was concerned that credible reports revealed that airport security personnel delayed passengers, causing un-receipted payments and charges, especially for foreigners.

The House said personal items are charged without receipts, bags are forcefully opened and searched, and valuables are stolen in broad daylight.

Furthermore, it said, the vile crime is committed in all the country’s international airports.

The House was also concerned that if these actions of the security agents are not checked, they will impact the struggling economy very negatively, as the country’s economic credibility will dim in the global market, thus discouraging foreigners and investors from coming into Nigeria to do legitimate business.

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It was further concerned about the possibility of a sharp decline in the revenue generated by foreign visits for business, tourism, and other purposes, given that Nigeria is currently facing severe economic difficulties and that foreign investments are essential to bolstering the faltering economy and creating jobs for young people without employment.

 

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

The House said it was cognizant of the fact that the country’s monopolistic economy necessitates the participation of foreign investors to boost economic growth and increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Wole Shadare

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