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COVID 19: No Staff Of NPA Has Been infected – Jatto

By Stephen Ubanna

In spite of the news that has been making the rounds  in maritime circles in the last one week that a Staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority , NPA, under the close watch of Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, had contacted the Dreaded Wuhan of China emerged Coronavirus, Jatto Adams, a General Manager and the agency Head of Corporate and Strategic Communications, had dismissed the claims as the handiwork of mischief makers.

An aggrieved  Jatto who could not hide his feelings had told those that cares to listen that

”no NPA staff has been diagnosed with the COVID 19 since the outbreak of the disease in the country ‘’. He is right. The Management had  set up  a well organised structure and  Medical Team at the ports to ensure that Foreign vessels and their Crew members are properly scrutnised  before being allowed to discharge their cargoes  or perform other duties at the ports.

 More so, the African countries had  set up a monitoring  Team at Muaritus, Mauariatanian , described as an entry route for Foreign vessels  sailing into  African countries . This is to ensure that suspected vessels carrying  COVID 19  infected persons do not  find their way into any  African  country seaport either in the West, Central, North or South African coast.indeed, this may have informed why there had not been no reported case of a COVID 19 person through the seaport in Africa.

Given that NPA Management has nothing to hide from Nigerians,it was ,therefore, not surprising that when this case of a staff allegedly being infected with the virus, came up, Jatto , the agency Head Corporate  and Strategic Communications rose to the challenge and  issued a  Statement to state the Authority position.

Arial View Of Apapa Port

  According to him  the rumour emerged  when a member  of staff  of one of the undisclosed Terminal Operators  at one of  the Lagos ports ,who had been out of office for long  visited his father –In-Law and Family on Friday ,April 17, 2020 and Sunday, April19, 2020 respectively.

It was learnt that on arrival at the father-In-Law, who incidentally was a  Medical Doctor, and family house, there was no sign of life in it.  He was said to have discovered that both the father-In-law, wife and children had  taken ill. It was gathered that on Monday, April 20, 2020, the father-in-law and the  immediate family members were diagnosed in one of the Nigeria center for disease control, NCDC,  Testing centers in Lagos  but were found to have been infected with the disease.

This may have informed why he opted to self-isolate himself in order to get tested of the disease  also. He was so worried  that he had to write his employers  informing  them  about  the health crisis with his family members  and his decision to self Isolate. That much was also confirmed  by Jatto in his Statement.

He may have realised that he was keeping away too long from office and its implications going by the country’s Industrial Law,  that on Thursday, April 23, 2020,   he again wrote to inform his employers  that he had tested positive  to the Coronavirus  disease  and but the entire family are now  receiving treatment at one of the Isolation centers in Lagos.

Giving the Contagious effect of the pandemic,  the  Terminal Operator, which had engaged his services,  were said to have immediately  reached out to the Coordinator,  Port Health services to seek advice  on the guidelines  laid  down  by the NCDC, for a reported  COVID 19 incident by a company.

Acting on the advice  of the  port  health officials, the undisclosed Terminal Operator  officials were said to have disinfected the  terminal at the port  and those  who were said to have interacted with him  were identified and asked to self Isolate to avoid distributing the sickness to other workers.

This may have informed why Jatto, the NPA , spokesperson  has advised Journalists    to verify  all information  before going to press  in order to avoid creating unnecessary tension in the country. He maintains that ’’ there are laid down procedures  for  the management  of suspected COVID 19 cases at the ports, noting that  the Authority  will  ‘’in Collaboration  with other government agencies , follow these guidelines and processes through  whenever  the occasions arise’’.

Appealing to maritime stakeholders and for calm, Jatto had  assured  Nigerians  that the situation is under control, an indication that there is no cause for alarm over the  rumoured case  as NPA , has  all that  it takes to handle any suspected  Coronavirus incident at the ports.

Stephen Ubanna

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