Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu has appealed to Nigerians to as a matter of priority desist from attitudes, practices and behaviours that cast a slur on the nation’s reputation.
The EFCC Chief, in his remarks at a one-day sensitisation programme for Aviation workers in Abuja, informed them that as colleagues in the service of â€œour beloved nation, I like to remind us that it is vanity to aspire to amass wealth through corrupt means. We should rather be mindful of our legacy of service by being accountable at all time.
According to him, “It is with great pleasure that I address the management and staff of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the distinguished guests invited to this unique Anti-corruption Sensitization Programme for Aviation workers.”
“This outreach programme is specially designed for public and private sector workers in direct response to the mandate of the Commission to fight corruption in Nigeria.
“Section 6 of the EFCC Act requires the Commission to, in addition to its enforcement responsibilities, take measures to prevent the commission of economic and financial crimes. Among such measures, is aggressive public enlightenment and education while adding that, it is far cheaper to prevent a crime than to fight it.”
Magu while speaking said, “Our presence here is to bring the message of anti-corruption to the management and staff of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN and other aviation workers. The essence is to improve workplace consciousness of corruption and its corrosive effects and encourage workers to have a buy-in, as the EFCC alone cannot fight and win the war against corruption in Nigeria.
He explained that, the airport as perhaps the most important gateway into the country is strategic in many ways. Adding that, “the most important is that it is foreigners’ first contact with Nigeria and the impression they form of our country is largely informed by the conduct of our aviation professionals.
â€œThis is why the conduct of our aviation professionals is key to the efforts at national rebirth, especially the critical economic mandate of attracting foreign direct investment into our economy. To this extent, it is imperative that we erase those practices, attitudes and behaviours that cast a slur on our nationâ€™s reputation and make Nigeria an unattractive destination for both tourists and investment. To this extent, it is important to put screening and monitoring systems in place to ensure that airport staff deliver service to the best international practices.â€
The EFCC Boss further said, â€œI would like to seize this opportunity to remind us that, corruption affects all of us and we must resolve to fight it to a standstill in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s admonition to us that, “If we don`t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria!” We must not allow that to happen, for the sake of our children and the unborn generation.”
Continuing, he hinted that: “As things stand, except we delude ourselves, we cannot deny that the twin evil of corruption and poor infrastructure have blighted our aviation industry. In recent times, many cases of corruption have been reported in the sector, ranging from misuse of funds, bribery, extortion, to abuse of authority by officials at the airports.
â€œThe implication of this is the compelling need to strengthen our key integrity systems by consciously eliminating practices that promotes corrupt tendencies in the public sectors.
He noted that, accountability may be a difficult virtue to some but certainly not impossible to achieve, stating that the ingredients of transparency include: A disclosure system, openness to public participation, access to information, absence of undue secrecy, readiness to face and accommodate legitimate scrutiny.
“When people are aware of these facts it should encourage them to fight corruption. Cases of bribery and abuse of authority should be reported and indicted official will be punished.
Magu, while appreciating FAAN said, “It is gratifying that FAAN has inaugurated its Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) to ensure transparency, accountability and good ethical practices.
“I commend the management for this step which will go a long way in ensuring that every staff is aware of the consequences of engaging in corrupt practices, bearing in mind that the best way to fight corruption is to prevent it.
“I therefore advise you to familiarise yourselves with the EFCC Act and other laws affecting your duties as EFCC will not spare anyone who runs foul of the law. The Commission is determined more than ever before to rid all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies of all forms of fraudulent activities.”
He however said FAAN, in collaboration with the EFCC can fight corruption effectively as cases of free movement of criminals in and out of the country and the brazen laundering of proceeds of illicit activities through our airports can be checked with improved synergy.
“I pray this programme will also be extended to all the all the airports across the country to ensure a wider reach and more sustainable impact. I wish all of you, a fruitful interaction with my officers from the Public Affairs, Legal, and Operations departments.
Responding, the Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, stated that it is imperative to note that all activities within the airport are well monitored.
According to him, “When an incidence happen we tackle them appropriately, there are CCTVs at the Airport and all incidences are being recorded, so anytime there is investigation we always go back and play the video and also hand over to any government security agencies that request for the footage.
â€œSo everybody is being recorded. The public should know that as soon as you arrive the airport from the toll-gate till you board the aircraft and we can play that at any point in time.”
Dunoma, while responding to a question on cases of bribery at the airport and loss of luggage’s, he said: We are trying to eliminate that, that is why am sending a note of warning that every activities is being recorded at the Airport,
â€œWe view the CCTV footage in case of any theft or loss and at the end the perpetrators are caught, so all Airport user should know that whatever activities you have come for is being recorded, a lot of them has been caught so CCTV is recording all activities and such are being sent to security agencies for scrutiny in case of emergency, so let everyone be warned that all activities in the Airport are being recorded,â€ the FAAN Boss concluded.