Corruption has been identified as a major hindrance to the smooth running of aviation parastatals in the country. Recently, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita described corruption as "the monster which has been holding down Nigeria's economic growth and development."

Mrs. Oyo-Ita made this remark at the official inauguration of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Unit (ACTU) Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria chapter, an arm of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) tasked with the duty of checking corrupt practices in Nigeria's MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies).

The HOCSF, who was represented at the launch by the Director heading Lagos Liaison office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Ibironke Adepeju Okikiolu, notes: "We are all aware of the serious nature and importance of the task before the unit being inaugurated today. It is, however, gratifying to note that to enable the unit to carry out its responsibility effectively those that are saddled with the responsibility for appointing its members are required to ensure the inclusion of officers with accounting, procurement and audit background."

She also stresses that "very crucial is the fact that the unit will operate as an autonomous team with powers and functions of the unit clearly stated in Section 6(a)-(f) of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act (2000)."

Mrs. Oyo-Ita explains that the unit is responsible for promoting ethics and enforcing integrity compliance with ethical codes within FAAN, adding that it is the responsibility of the unit to monitor and ensure compliance in respect of the provisions in the annual budget of FAAN. She charges the 11-man committee members to attend all mandatory training organized for them by the ICPC and any other body as may be approved by the Commission to enable them discharge their duties effectively.

In the same vein, the Chairman of ICPC, Mr. Ekpo Nta, who was represented at the event by the ICPC Zonal Commandant South West, Mr. Shintema Binga, tasks the newly inducted ACTU team not to rest on their oars in fulfilling their obligations. He commends FAAN for resuscitating the Anti-Corruption unit, adding that the unit is complementing ICPC's moves in the war against corruption.

The ICPC Chairman discloses that the ICPC has conducted risk assessments of Lagos and Abuja airports in the areas of corruption and transparency, adding that the results would soon be submitted. He implores the new team to be aware of the enormity of the task and be dedicated to the course. The ICPC reveals that the essence of setting up the ACTU is to eliminate vices in MDAs such as Nepotism, Embezzlement, Dishonesty, Falsification of records etc., adding that the tenure for the team is three years, but they stand to be re-commissioned if their performance is outstanding.

The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, represented at the event by the Director of Commercial & Business Development, Alh. Sadiku Rafindadi, assures of FAAN Management's commitment towards upholding ethical practices which, he says, was exhibited in the seamless collaboration with the ICPC in the just concluded Critical Risk Assessment Exercise to eradicate low level corruption at the nation's airports.

What Expectations?

Perhaps, with the ACTU in place, the recurrent instances of FAAN allegedly reneging on agreements entered into with private investors would be closely looked into and future ones foreclosed. In addition, other government agencies in the aviation sector such as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) should also rise up to the challenge to walk the talk in checking low level corruption in the agencies by resuscitating their ACTUs and giving them all the required support.



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