Clipping the wings of overzealous towing operators at airports

Despite the myriad of challenges confronting the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as the manager of the country’s airports, the ongoing crazy activities of the different towing operators across the country’s airports have continued to make business difficult for airport users.

The towing operators who have been engaged as concessionaires to enforce decent parking across the airports have become a thorn in the flesh of airport users.

Many airport users including travelers and even workers of the agencies had at one time or the other fallen victims to the illegal and corrupt activities of the towing operators.

Obviously, the towing operators because of corruption and in their zeal to become billionaires overnight had thrown decency to the dogs as witnessed in the wicked ways they often make lives difficult for airport users.

Many airport users have sad tales to tell about the manner the towing vehicle operators set innocent car owners up for the purpose of extorting them.

This illegality, which is not limited to Lagos airport but other airports, recently reared its head at the Port Harcourt Airport with the victim alerting FAAN to the need to urgently call the towing operators to order.

Narrating his experience, the victim had declared: “I had gone to the Airport (Port Harcourt) to drop my wife who was traveling to Lagos. On getting to the Airport, I dropped her off in front of the departure hall, came down from the car and brought down her luggage, and drove to the car park. I quickly parked and went to the departure hall to bid her farewell.

“Since I was not allowed to enter the departure hall due to Covid-19 regulations, I had to quickly wave her goodbye from a distance and returned to the car park.

On getting back to the car just within a space of five minutes or less, I noticed that some persons have quickly locked the front wheel and tyre with a heavy chain and padlock.”

Many people have similar stories to tell about the uncivilized activities of the towing operators.

In their desperate bid to make more money or meet their targets, some of the intrigues engaged by officials of the towing operators to extort innocent airport users include, hiding somewhere watching a first timer park before they swarm around you like flies, accusing the user of parking illegally. At that point, they’d come up with killer fines ranging from N10,000 to N25,000, which the victim must pay before he could have the car back.

In the cause of carrying out these illegal jobs, they often damage their victims’ cars with the irresponsible manners they handle the cars while dragging them to their towing yards.

The activities of the towing operators, if not urgently reviewed by FAAN, may be another bubble waiting to burst, which may not bring good news to the government agency.If the situation is not checked, it may lead to litigations and open confrontation between the towing operators and the aggrieved airport users.

Presently, the towing operators are making the airports unfriendly to all airport users all for their selfish purposes.

The time has come for FAAN to look into the operations of the towing operators and consider spelling out their limits and how to be more civilized towards airport users. If need be, FAAN can instruct the operators to erect signs of illegal parking spots at the airports to serve as notice to those not too familiar with approved parking space at the airports.

The quick intervention of FAAN will not only stop the corrupt practices of the towing operators, but will make the airports environments more conducive for users.

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