COVID 19: NAGAFF Lock Down Seaports And Airports, Nwabunike Laments Worsening Situation Of The Crisis

Elizabeth Chukwuma

Worried by the plight of Importers with their Clearing agents at the country’s seaports and airports as a result of the global Coronavirus, which had affected businesses, Boniface Anniebonam, Founder, National Association of Government  Approved Freight Forwarders,  NAGAFF, who could no longer sit-by and watch his members  suffer, appear to have taken a bold initiative to save their lives: Ground the seports and airports.

Taking a cue from Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos state, who had been restless since the outbreak of the sickness to close down schools and markets to avoid the gathering of too  many  people at a place described as a veritable source of spreading the dreaded disease,  the NAGAFF , founder was said to have mobilised members to shut down operations  at the seaports and International airports until the COVID 19 Diseases improves .

Recall that the government had  directed  that all vessels approaching the nation’s seaports at the moment  are at the discretion of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to allow the vessel entry but under strict conditions of the rules of engagement to berth and discharge their cargoes or  ordered to port or orgin if suspecteed.  

In taking the decision, the NAGAFF Chieftain had said that  “ under the present circumstances  we have found  that our lives as agents operating   at the seaports and airports which are gateways of the nation’s economy are in danger because of the increasing cases of victims of the Coontagious disease  as reconfirmed by the Nigerian Centre For Disease Control, NCDC, particular, in Lagos, the country’s Commercial nerve centre.

A worried Anniebonam averred that what is happening at the country was enough reason for President Muhammadu Buhari to know that  the seaports  and airports across the country must be shut down  for business to save lives.   

There are fears that there might be congestions at the seaports  as agents withdrew their services from the seaport and airports.  Perhaps, to avoid such a Congestion of Containerised cargoes at the seaports, the NAGAFF Founder was said to have suggested that Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of Transportation and his Counterpart in the ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, should  , set up a Special Task Force, to ensure that that the Bonded Terminals and any other dedicated area should be used to warehouse  such  Containerised cargoes or any other type of cargo discharged at the seaport or  Airports that could not find space.

Given the increasing cases of COVID 19, Anniebonam had said that” there is need  for the Lagos government and other affected states  to consider imposition of a Curfew to control  movement of goods and services”’. More so, he wants the Katsina state born Nigerian President  to adopt further stricter measures right in dealing with Health crisis as the country lack the basic facilities to cushion the consequences of the ongoing spread of the disease.

He noted that  if  the government had  taken  urgent  steps to address the menace when it first  broke in the Wuhan, Hebei province  of the Republic of China  last December, the situation may not have been as  bad as it is today  in the country.

Nwabunike Tony Iju: ANLCA President

In a related Development, Tony Nwabunike, President Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, who fears that the COVID 19, situation in the country was getting worse had suggested the need for the government to further  ‘’scale down operations  at the seaports to an  all time  low   to be able to contain the spread of the sickness.

The ANLCA President noted that the dreaded China sickness had overstretched the health facilities in the country, particular, Lagos state,  where  there are over 30 of such confirmed Coronavirus victims. He lamented that Nurses, Medical Doctors and Paramedics are being effected  for treating victims which is not a good Testimony for the  country.

Aware that there is no cure for the disease  and to avoid endangering members live, the Association Secretariat had been  shut down for business. Many fear that with the  COVID 19,  which had affected operations at the seaports  and airports,  Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General , Nigerian  Customs Service, NCS, may find it difficult to hit the N2 trillion revenue target  set for the service this year. There  may still be hope of the service collecting the revenue  as NCDC, officials had declared that  the country has chances of overcoming the sickness for live to return to normalcy in the country.

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  1. Bonniface Anniebonam: Founder NAGAFF
  2. 2. Tonny Nwabunike: President: ANLCA        

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