Ebola: FG bars direct entry to foreign ships

As part of measures to sus­tain the containment of the spread of the dreaded Ebola disease, the Federal Govern­ment has barred all foreign liners from directly entering the nation’s six major seaports located in La­gos, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri.

Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, who made the disclo­sure, at the Ministerial platform, held in Abuja Thursday, said that the relevant security agencies operating at the various seaports have been directed to ensure that no vessel enters Nigeria’s territo­rial waters from international voyage without being properly screened before their entry.

Under the new security and health arrangement, all vessels coming into the country includ­ing their crew must be thoroughly screened at the anchorage before they are towed into the nation’s territorial waters unlike what was obtained before now.

The minister also noted that the new measure, which is being enforced in conjunction with the Port Health and the Federal Min­istry of Health as part of mea­sures to sustain the progress so far made in ensuring that the dreaded virus does not spread any further.

“We are working assiduously to ensure that the deadly disease ravaging some counties in West Africa does not spread in Nigeria through the seaports this time”, the Minister said emphatically.

The Minister, who also pre­sented his score, noted that the transport sector under his super­vision in the last few years have done very well, insisting that the government will continue to take urgent steps towards the develop­ment of the sector.

According to him, the sector would continue to receive attention under the transformation agenda of the current administration, as it will continue to play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the Nigerian nation’s economy.

The Federal Government un­der President Goodluck Jonathan will continue to develop efficient, safe and secure transport sys­tem, which will be the envy of the world”, he also assured.

On Nigeria’s projected attain­ment of hub seaport for the West and Central African sub-region, he noted that with the comple­tion of the reform of the seaports, which stripped the Nigerian Ports Authority of its cargo handling functions and gave same to private terminal operators, a measure of efficiency has been recorded at the seaports.