JUST IN:  FEC cancels free airport passes for Tinubu, Shittima, other VIPs

Kunle Sanni

The Federal Executive Council, (FEC), has approved the removal of complimentary access pass tags for all visitors and VIPs at federal airport tollgates nationwide.

The Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, announced this on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the council meeting chaired by President Bola Tinubu.

Keyamo also revealed that President Bola Tinubu voluntarily requested that he and his Vice President, Kashim Shettima, should be included in the payment of tollgate levies at all federal airports in Nigeria.

He stated that the federal government’s failure to fully control the cost from printing e-tags and proper collection tollgates fees from VIPs has resulted in a loss of revenue at the airports and also breeds corruption in the aviation sector.

He further explained that instead of the government having a 100 per cent contract on the e-costs, only 18 per cent of the e-tags were sold, indicating a significant shortfall.

Keyamo emphasised that 82 per cent of the e-tags are provided for free to VIPs, resulting in substantial financial losses for the sector.

“That is how bad it is,” Keyamo reiterated that 18 per cent and 82 per cent of these e-tags are given out free of charge to VIPs.

“So imagine the loss at my sector and I ask myself which other sector will I go to if they give me anything free?” he added.

Citing an example, the minister stated that, “In one of the access gates based on the count of the barrier going up and down, we are supposed to be making 250 or 260 million from that every month.

“That gate, because of exemptions, returns to us less than 100 million every month. And that also of course, breeds corruption too because now you cannot track, you cannot have the audit trail of those free tags that you now give to our people to give out to people either they sell it at half price because in a year the ones we sell the yearly, a time maybe a million or a million plus  that gives you access to parking, to assets everything, so nobody will tow your car.

“So we don’t, we can’t keep an audit trail of these thoughts that will give us so we’re not gonna sell it half price, some you know, civil servants are going to give it to give out to people. So there was really no need to continue with this. I can on and on and give you figures but it has led to massive loss in the past.

“And luckily counsel agree with us, Mr. President agreed with us. And it’s our president who said remove me from the exemption and the vice president, everybody should pay.

He added, “The VIPs who are supposed to have money to pay for services but they compel poor men to pay for services. And I said no. So got my team together. I said we need the backing of counsel to compel everybody. In fact, guess what? Our memo says with the exception of the President and the Vice President. And the President overruled me and said he and the Vice President will pay, he said everybody.

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