In a bid to ensure that the guidelines and directives issued by both the Federal and State Governments to prevent the spread of Corona virus are fully complied with, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) as well as the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has shut down their offices.
While ANLCA announced the total shutdown of its national secretariat on Tuesday, CRFFN announced the partial shutdown of its offices with staff on level 12and below to work from home while some staff remained in office to attend to enquiries and concerns of freight forwarders.
Announcing the total shutdown of its national secretariat in a statement on Tuedsay, the National President of ANLCA, Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike said, “We are in perilous times. Humanity is faced with its worst crisis since World War II. Covid-19 is not only ravaging our communities as we know it, but also destroying the world economy.
“Our own government has closed down schools, borders and shut down Government Secretariats. It is apparent that activities at the Wharf will also be scaled down to an all-time low.
“The truth is that Covid-19 has stretched health facilities to a breaking point and challenged the very foundations of our way of living.
“Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics are getting infected and paying the ultimate price. Many more people will be infected and many will yet die. This is to make the point that we are at war with an invisible killer.
“We will fight this war and together, with God on our side, we will win this war. It begs the question, how do we win? We have to obey instructions from all relevant authority. We have to avoid non-essential travel. We have to keep to Social Distancing; i.e., avoid large gatherings and close physical contact with people. We have to regularly wash our hands with soap and water as often as possible or use ethanol based hand sanitizers as well. Most importantly, submit yourself to NCDC if you notice any covid-19 symptoms in you or your loved ones. By so doing, we could potentially save countless lives.
“It is not all bad news, the good news is that covid-19 is not temperature resistant and so drinking of very warm water is advisable as well as taking suana warm water bath twice daily. Warm water bath has been identified as a fighting tool to fight infection. The ancient method of taking care of malaria, fever and flu by inhaling steam from boiled water while one’s head is covered with quilt or blanket for 15 minutes until one sweat has equally been identified as necessary therapy that may keep covid-19 away.
“Your National President and the entire NECOM members do care about you and your entire family members. All our professional colleagues are very important and dear to us. Let’s show love to ourselves by staying safe and coming out victorious.
“Consequently, the National Secretariat will by 12 noon today the 24/03/2020 be shut down till further notice.
“Pls, stay at home with your families. Avoid gatherings of any sort. It is my prayers that the Almighty Father will spare us and the lives of our family members.”
On his part, the Registrar/ CEO of CRFFN, Barr. Samuel Nwakohu while expressing the Council’s solidarity with the federal government and the various state governments, especially where freight forwarders operate, in all the efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19), also appreciated the efforts so far made by sister agencies, especially the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration ad Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), all of which had announced varying measures to curtail human contact by announcing partial shutdown of operations at their various offices.
He said, “We know that these measures will help reduce the potential of COVID -19 ravaging the Nigerian maritime and allied sectors.
“We also thank freight forwarding associations which have been leading in the efforts to sensitize their members, we urge you to continue with this and spread the message of social distancing.
“At the CRFFN, our personnel have been updated about their obligations in line with the directives of the Federal Government, which means that staff from level 12 and below should work from their homes.
“It is pertinent to stress that there is already a full compliance with the directive, but as a critical stakeholder in the supply chain, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, has also directed that only relevant department and personnel should be at work. Our offices nationwide are however opened for enquiries and assistance.
“However, the CRFFN passionately advises our immediate stakeholders; the practicing freight forwarders, corporate and individuals, to be conscious of their safety at this trying period of the spread of the deadly COVID -19.
“We are particularly worried about the exposure of the foot-soldier freight forwarders who must be physically present during examination and delivery of cargoes of their principals; the shipper. We urge caution, and advise that freight forwarders limit their physical contact, and if need be, please avail yourself of the various protective devices, such as hand sanitizers and nose masks.
“We equally urge freight forwarding companies to procure pocket size sanitizers and masks for their employees.
“The CRFFN is quite aware that, presently, the cargo clearance and delivery process is still far from what can be completed online, hence we advise caution as we all navigate through this period of COVID-19, which is exposing persons in the supply chain to serious health risk globally.
“Once again, freight forwarders are advised to make use of the electronic platforms where applicable and reduce physical presence to examination and delivery alone.”
Photo: Registrar/CEO, CRFFN, Barr. Samuel Nwakohu.
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