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Tinubu, Shettima, service chiefs… VIPS to pay toll at airport gates

BY Busola Aro

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President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima will now pay the required toll whenever they use the gates at airports.

Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation, announced this to journalists after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting chaired by Tinubu at the presidential villa in Abuja on Tuesday.

Keyamo said he presented two memos which were approved by the council.

He said airport users should no longer be exempted from paying tolls.

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The minister also said the initial tradition was to exempt only the president and the vice-president, however, Tinubu overruled, saying no one should be exempted.

According to Keyamo, the government was losing over 82 percent of the revenue it should have earned from the access fee.

“No more exemption. When we came to office, we met a tradition on the ground where at the end of the year, all manners of VIPs would approach us for what they call complimentary e-tags or complimentary stickers. Whereby you see them coming into our airports nationwide,” he said.

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“They don’t pay the access fees. They don’t pay for parking, they don’t pay for essential services at airports, and they are VIPs. And I told myself on my team, I said not under my watch. It will not happen.

“If this tradition has been existing for years, I will not allow it to happen. Because it is inconceivable that in our country it is the VIPs that don’t pay for services but it is the poor men that pay for services.

“The VIPs were supposed to have money to pay for services but they compel poor men to pay for services.

“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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‘WE MAKE LESS REVENUE BECAUSE OF CORRUPTION’

Keyamo said the revenue made at the tollgates has been low due to exemptions and corruption.

“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 gate every month,” Keyamo said.

“Because of exemptions, the returns to us are 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.”

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Keyamo also said some people sell the tags at half the price.

The minister said the tags “we sell yearly, maybe a million or a million plus, that gives you access to parking, to assets everything, so nobody will tow your car”.

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He said the culture of selling at half the price would be stopped.

Keyamo said everyone in the judiciary, the legislature, the executive, and the military high command should buy tags for their personnel yearly so they do not have to pay tolls every time the airport gates are used.

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