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COVID-19: Group writes NPA, calls for fumigation of ports to prevent spread

A group, under the aegis of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has written the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), requesting for the fumigation of Nigerian seaports to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the letter, which was dated May 29, 2020 and addressed to the managing director of the NPA, Nigerian seaport just like other ports in the World is an international arena that plays host to people from different parts of the world, where the deadly pandemic is on rampage.

“There have been reports of one or two infected individuals that had at one time or the other visited the port in Nigeria. Perhaps, there are still some cases of infected individuals around our ports, but which have not been discovered. It is for this reason that the fumigation of the ports and environs becomes very pertinent. Our call for the fumigation of the nation’s ports is to ensure the safety of visitors, thereby curtailing the spread of the virus in our country,” the letter, which was signed by Dipo Olayoku, secretary general of NAGAFF stated.

While appreciating the NPA management’s team for their efforts in sustaining the reforms at the port and striving to make port operations seamless, Olayoku stated that the authority’s action since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought about hiccups in global maritime operations including Nigeria, has been of immense benefit to the country.

“Your effort at collaborating with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) in controlling the traffic gridlock within the ports domain and easing the flow of essential goods out of ports at the peak of the lockdown was a huge contribution, which deserves commendation,” the letter reads.

According to the group, NPA’s role in giving waiver palliative to shippers from March 23, 2020 to April 26, 2020 was of immense impact in reducing the suffering on the part of port users and freight forwarders during this period.

“It is now most critical that access into the port should be addressed. The need for your office and that of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to close ranks for proper identification of freight practitioners cannot be over-emphasised, without prejudice to the fact that ports are commercial areas but at the same time a restricted area for security reasons,” Olayoku said.

Olayoku further suggested in the letter that access to the port by freight practitioners should be based on the register kept by the Registrar of freight forwarders in Nigeria submitted to the NPA.

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