A container terminal in Apapa, Lagos.

Francis Ezem

The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA has said that the nation’s seaports would remain open and operational despite a directive by the Federal Government that all nonessential services should be locked down from midnight on Monday as part of efforts to curtail the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in a national broadcast on Sunday announced a 14-day lockdown of all nonessential social and economic activities especially in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in order curb the spread of the pandemic, which has already hit eight out of the country’s 36 states including the FCT, Abuja.

According to a statement signed by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications unit of the authority, Jatto Adams, in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Lagos seaports, Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports would remain open over the duration of the two-week lockdown in Lagos State.

“The Nigerian Ports Authority hereby assures all stakeholders that arrangements have been made for operations at the ports to continue without hindrance.

“Safety procedures, which will guarantee the wellbeing and security of stakeholders and staff have been put in place and all are advised to kindly comply with directives of port officials”, the statement reads in part.

NPA also enjoined all other government agencies responsible for smooth operations in the ports to be at their respective duty posts to discharge their functions in line with the presidential directive of maintaining operational functions at the Lagos seaports.

The General Manager assured stakeholders of the management’s commitment to facilitation of trade in Nigeria.

It would also be recalled that the management of NPA had following the directive of the President, ordered some departments, whose functions are not crucial to daily port operations to stay away from work for the period of the two-week lockdown as part of efforts to ensure that the pandemic does not spread further in the country.