Controller, Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura, on Thursday confirmed that ten officers of the command have tested positive for the coronavirus disease.
Comptroller Abba-Kura, who disclosed this while addressing journalists at a media briefing in Lagos, stated that while the officers have been treated at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), henceforth, no officer of the command will board any ship that has been red-flagged by relevant government agencies over health or safety concern until duly cleared by the agencies handling such issue.
While noting the need for port stakeholders including clearing agents to observe safety precautions and personal hygiene while carrying out activities at the port, the Customs boss maintained that there is no way the command can stop physical examination of cargoes for now because of the fear of COVID-19.
He said, “When two of my officers tested positive to the COVID-19 virus, I ordered that the entire unit where those two were working go for testing, and it was later discovered that another eight had the virus.
“They have all been treated at LUTH and discharged. It is important that people observe personal hygiene when working in a place like the ports. Look at the face mask, it is supposed to be disposable, but you will see people using it for days without disposing after first use.
“Now, most of my officers are better informed following training that was carried out by doctors sent to us from the Customs Headquarters in Abuja.”
Meanwhile, the command said it generated the sum of N227.3 billion revenue from January to June 2020. The Controller said the total goods exported through Apapa port including agricultural products, mineral resources and steel bars amongst others stood at 1.642 metric tonnes with N52.4 billion Free On Board (FOB) value.
According to the Comptroller, in spite of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade, there has been a steady improvement in revenue collection all through the half of the year except for the month of May, which recorded a decline of about N3.531 billion.
On the command’s anti-smuggling drive, Kura said the command recorded a total seizure of 142 containers of various items worth N15.9 billion.
He gave the breakdown of the items seized to include one Rolls Royce 2018 model, one Lamborghini Hurracane Sport Car 2019 model, pharmaceuticals products, bags of rice, used clothes, shoes, vegetable oil, vehicles, packaging materials, detergents, candy milk, used tyres, cigarette fitter, rug and textile materials respectively.
“In addition to seizing these goods, we have equally invoked the provisions of Section 167 of CEMA, which deals with detention, seizure and condemnation of goods. All seized items have been condemned by a court of competent jurisdiction – the Federal High Court – and have now become the property of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The Controller urged importers and exporters as well as their agents to always adhere to import and export guidelines and procedures and make sincere declarations to avoid their consignments being forfeited to the Federal Government.