The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Wednesday said the prevalence of Ebola virus in the country was slowing down its operations at the ports and border stations.
The Public Relations Officer of the service, Wale Adeniyi, made this known in an interview with NAN in Abuja.
Adeniyi explained that the downturn in the activities of the service was because current operational emphasis was on the protection of its officers and men against the virus.
He said that measures were being taken to provide necessary facilities for the safety of the personnel and those they come in contact with in the course of their duties, adding that not much was being done operationally.
“So, for now we are not really concerned much about revenue collection but we are concerned on how to ensure that officers and men do not contract the virus while doing their jobs,” he said.
Besides, he said that the traffic of port users who deal with the Customs had reduced as everyone was being cautious of the virus.
Adeniyi admitted that the current situation could negatively impact on revenue generation by the service.
“The panic created by Ebola is definitely slowing down our operations particularly at the border stations, and if the current situation negatively impacts on revenue, I believe it will be perfectly understood,” he said.
He said that officers and men of the service who made contact with passengers and their luggage would be equipped with adequate protective facilities to prevent them from contracting the virus.
“We are also following this up with sensitisation of all stakeholders in the ports and borders to stress the importance of personal hygiene in curtailing the Ebola spread.
“We have installed hand sanitisers in strategic positions in our offices to encourage officers and stakeholders to imbibe the practice of keeping their hands clean all the time,” he said.
Adeniyi said the service had also reviewed its procedures at the borders and entry points by making the Port Health Services the first point of contact for all inward clearance processes.
According to him, the move became necessary to ensure that officers, importers, agents and stakeholders are not exposed to the risk of contracting the Ebola virus.
Adeniyi said that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Dikko Abdullahi, had also urged the service to be at red alert, given the seriousness of the disease.
He said that actions being taken by authorities of the service were in line with Federal Government’s directive to its agencies on the Ebola issue.