Lagos — The Apapa Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service has barred its personnel, clearing agents and other stakeholders that have not received the COVID-19 vaccine from accessing its premises.
The development has however attracted reactions from Customs and other port as some of the agents that spoke to Vanguard said that the Customs has no right to bar any Customs agents from entering the Command.
The agents opined that the Customs could bar men and Officers of the Services and not agents as they all agreed that the move could be an impediment to trade
An internal memo obtained sighted by Sweetcrudereports, states that all unvaccinated persons including Customs officials will no longer be allowed into the premises of the Area Command from today Wednesday January 12, 2022.
The memo reads: “This is to inform officers/members and the general public that as from Wednesday 12th January 2022, no person including officers that has not taken the COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed into the Customs premises. You are to come along with proof of vaccination.”
In October 2021, the Federal Government, as part of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria, announced that it would bar unvaccinated civil servants from accessing their offices effective December 1, 2021. The government said workers in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that fail to show proof of their vaccination against the deadly virus, or a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test done within 72 hours would not be allowed into their offices.
“With effect from 1st December 2021, Federal Government employees shall be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours, to gain access to their offices, in all locations within Nigeria and our Missions. An appropriate service wide advisory/circular will be issued to guide the process,” Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Boss Mustapha, had said.
Reacting to the development, the National Deputy President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs agents, ANLCA, Mr. Kayode Farinto said that the Customs Area Comptroller Mr. Malanta Ibrahim has no right to stop agents from entering the Command to do their legitimate business.
Farinto also said that the if the issue is not properly handled, it could affect trade.
Similarly, another Customs agents who is also a member of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, Mr. Ayuba Ari said that the move to bar agents from entering the ports could be counterproductive as it could affect trade.
Ari explained that if could are trapped in the ports, it could lead to port congestion and subsequently payment of huge demurrages to shipping companies who will smile to the banks at the expense of importers
Some states including Edo, Ondo and Kaduna have since announced the same measures for their workers.
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