By Samson Echenim
…as unit sensitise Customs officers on epidemic
Nigeria’s largest revenue earning Customs formation, the Tin Can Port Command in Lagos, fears it may no longer meet its self-imposed N540 billion revenue target for 2020 on fears of negative impact the dreaded Coronavirus is having on global trade.
The command raised its revenue target for this year from N504 billion given it by the service’s headquarters to N540 billion, over 70 percent higher than N346 billion raked into federal government coffers by the unit last year.
The novel Coronavirus is not in Nigeria, but over 70 percent of the country’s imports are from China. The virus has been reported in Algeria, north of Africa.
The Tin Can Port in Lagos is one of Nigeria’s busiest port, recording about 40 percent of the country’s annual trade volume.
The port’s command of the Nigeria Customs Service, held a sensitisation programme on deadly Coronavirus at which officers were trained on how to handle imported cargoes during examination, as well personal health management during this time.
The country operates 100 percent physical examination of cargoes which makes contact with goods at point of examination inevitable.
At the sensitisation programme, Musa Abdullah, a comptroller of Customs and Tin Can area controller expressed fears that the command might not meet its revenue targets for 2020 owing to the impact of Coronavirus which is already seeing to dwindling volume of imports.
“The outbreak of the coronavirus has yet to affect the revenue generation of my command, but we have concerns that the dwindling cargo traffic from China would ultimately hamper the revenue of the command,” Abdullah said.
He urged all officers of the command and all port users to adhere to the precautionary measures.
The seminar with the theme, “Awareness/ Sensitisation Workshop On Novel Coronavirus,” featured lectures on the virus as well as basic hygiene for prevention of coronavirus and other infections.
Some of the precautionary measures highlighted by the command’s medical team include use of face masks, hand sanitisers especially those with alcohol content to kill germs, hand gloves, frequently washing hands, among others.
The Tin Can Customs boss urged officers to prioritise their health and well-being, admonishing the officers to report persons with strange cases such as abnormal coughing, sneezing and fever which are some of the symptoms of the coronavirus.
“The essence of this event is to sensitise Customs officers and stakeholders on the place of hygiene in handling cargoes following the outbreak of coronavirus. The medical team has indicated to port users on how to prevent contact with this virus as well as others. Simple hygiene such as washing our hands, face, using sanitizers, face masks, use gloves, etc are very vital” he told journalists.
Also speaking, Dera Nnadi, deputy controller, Enforcement, Tin Can Island Customs, illustrated proper ways of utilising items such as hand sanitisers, face masks and hand gloves.
“These minute gadgets could be life-saving equipments against the contract of the virus,” he noted.
Noting that the virus reportedly wouldn’t survive on inanimate objects beyond three days, Nnadi encouraged officers to toe the line of caution emphasised by the area controller because there could be cases of mutation.
He equally charged the officers at the sensitisation workshop to take the information to their respective divisions and the port stakeholders to also educate their colleagues on the need to deploy these safety measures.