Undoubtedly, about six months since Coronavirus otherwise known as Covid 19 hit the world and Nigeria and their economies like a scourge in a very grievous and negative way, the stark reality is that the virus and its negative effects are most likely to continue to live with us for some time. It is for this reason that Inside Watch Africa (IWA) decided to visit the market to find out how industry players intend to ply their trade in the ‘new normal’, occasioned by the Coronavirus. IWA paid a courtesy visit to the Customs Area Controller of Apapa Area Command, Comptroller Abba-Kura to inquire from him how he intends to steer the ship of the command in the ‘new normal’. Below are the extracts from the interview:
IWA: Sir, how do you intend to steer the ship of this area command to be able to cope with the negative effects of the Coronavirus?
Abba-Kura: Right from inception, when a lot of people did not take the Coronavirus seriously, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was probably one of the first government agency in Nigeria that started to put structures and measures in place. First of all, the management of the Service led by the Comptroller General, Col. Hammeed Ali (retired) sent a medical team from the headquarters to all zonal headquarters and area commands. They lectured us on how to stay safe, we were taught on when and how best to wash our hands, use hand sanitizers, and the proper use of face masks. As you must have seen as you came into the area command, there are buckets of water with soaps and sanitizers stationed at the gate and these have been strategically placed all around the command right from the beginning. The front desk officers always take the temperature of everyone that comes into the area command and if it is discovered that anyone’s temperature is higher than the expected mark, such a person will not be allowed into the area command. Apart from the fact that people without face masks are not allowed into this command and even when somebody is allowed in, he or she will still be required to use the sanitizers by the door before entering the offices.
IWA: Are there things that you were already doing in your area command before now that are likely to come in handy in the “new normal’’?
Abba-Kura: As you know the services we rendered in the ports are categorized as essential service by the Federal Government of Nigeria. When the first full lockdown was declared by President Muhammadu Buhari in March, he directed that all the sea ports should remain open and we have been coming to our offices since then except on public holidays. My point simply is that, human and vehicular movements in and out of the ports are usually high, therefore, it is expedient to put a robust strategy in place to effectively and efficiently manage these movements. To directly answer your question one of the things we have been doing in this area command that I believe will come in handy in this ‘new normal’ is ‘capacity building’ of our officers and men as well as all our major stakeholders. We were able to train more than 403 senior officers last year and the main purpose of this training is to ensure that our officers and men as well as all stakeholders in this port are on the same page. We believe that this to a great extent will help minimize unnecessary disruptions in the clearing process. Although, the training has suffered some set back because of the coronavirus, we will soon resume Last week the committee on capacity building of this area command met and they are now working on the modalities to resume the training.
IWA: What other things do you consider essential to successfully cope with the Covid 19?
Abba-Kura: Two things that come straight to my mind are Infrastructure and non-intrusive examination of containers. I am sure that as you were coming down to the port you faced heavy traffic caused by the gridlock on the access road to Apapa. Once the issue of infrastructure is addressed the inflow and outflow of the port will improve and this will directly positively impact on the turnaround time of vessels coming into and leaving our ports. The other thing we need to get right is our scanners, we must ensure they are in good condition or purchase new ones. This I believe will make it a lot easier to observe social distancing because when containers are scanned there will be less people hanging around at examination bays to conduct physical examination and since this will make the process faster, it means more revenue will be generated for the government. Talking about revenue generation, let me quickly mention that not minding all the constraints induced by the coronavirus, we were still able to make great strides as far as revenue generation is concerned in this area command as we generated N227.3 billion in the first half of the year which is 10.59 per cent higher than what was generated in 2019.
IWA: What are the likely challenges you think you are likely to face in trying to build a new normal survival mechanism and how best do you intend to get around them?
Abba-Kura: Apart from what I mentioned above, the other challenge I foresee is how to get major stakeholders especially the representatives of the importers who are the clearing agents to buy into plying their trade strictly by the extant laws as laid down by the World Customs Organizations (WCO). They need to understand that we can only facilitate legitimate trade. It is also expedient to mention that we will find it easier to observe social distancing in our ports if those who do not have any business doing in the ports stay away from the ports.
IWA: What are the low hanging fruits to harvest in the new way we have started to do things because of the impact of the coronavirus or is everything all bad?
Abba-Kura: The very obvious thing to harvest is that we should be self-reliant and look inwards, we should devise other means of doing everything we do as a people. What I mean is that the way we do businesses should change because of this pandemic. Before now importers will most often travel to different countries to physically place orders for consignments, but with the recent restrictions on international travels globally everybody has had to embrace the internet to ply their trade. Those who were skeptical about the internet banking have braced up to deal with whatever phobia they had for internet banking.
It has become almost impossible to physically enter banks in Nigeria to transact any meaningful business because of the need to observe social distance. More people have now realized that certain social events can actually be conducted online.
I know a lot of schools that have been teaching their students online and some had even done exams. In fact we have even conducted a meeting with a unit of headquarters by making use of the zoom app and even on Saturday. I belong to the Chartered Institute of Loans and Risk Management of Nigeria and I am also a member of the governing council. The governing council held a meeting through zoom on Saturday where we deliberated on a lot of issues.
Going forward I will advise that all stakeholders who ply their trade in ours ports whether it is the sea, air or land borders particularly the importers or exporters as well as their clearing agents to get themselves acquainted with the use of internet as this has become the norm and the inescapable way for them to remain in business.

COVID-19: People now seamlessly access online supports for container shipment — David Ocholi, Regional Product Manager, Trade Lens, West Central Asia & Africa

There is no doubt that the COVID 19 has significantly and negatively impacted on the global economy and since we are all likely to continue to live with the COVID 19 for a while, we have decided at IWA to go into the market to find out how market leaders plan to cope with the ‘new normal’ occasioned by the COVID 19. We had a chat with the management of Maersk in Africa on the subject matter and below is the extract of the chat:
IWA: Sir, how does Maersk Line plan to cope with the `new normal’ thrust on us by the COVID 19?
David: At Maersk Line we have continued to evolve to remain strong in a world where innovation, agility, digitization and customer-centricity shape market needs and expectations. We are an integrated container-logistics company that connects and simplifies trade to help our customers grow and thrive.
IWA: Are there things that Maersk as an organization use to do pre-COVID 19 that are likely to help your operations in this new era?

David: The truth is at Maersk Line we have always had an online platform ( But the truth be told all across Africa, we have never witnessed a higher demand for the online (safe) solutions that we offer as we have seen during the Covid-19 crisis. Using our online platform has never been easier than it is today. People are also more disposed to accessing onlinesupports; such as getting quotes for their transactions, placing bookings and delivery orders which can be accessed online 24/7. Likewise, you can also get access to freight quotations 24/7 using your cell phone or computer.Maersk’s vast array of digital offerings allows all customers to continue their business online and to track goods worldwide using the company’s app, as a result of the covid-19 pandemic we have seen a large increase in customers’ making use of the seamless and tailored online services available.Maersk Spot allows customers to book cargo online in just a few clicks while they are also provided with a loading guarantee at a fixed, upfront price. Remote Container Management (RCM) allows customers to virtually have eyes on their cargo from the moment the goods are locked inside the container, right up to when they are delivered to their final destination.

IWA: What are the lessons to be learnt in the way things are now being done in the Maritime Industry in Africa that can aid the development of the industry going forward?
David: At Maersk our intention is to continue our operations in the same manner as we have continued to do in this crisis by working closely with our customers and stakeholders to ensure all parties involved in the logistical supply chain, from terminals to cargo owners. We also intend to continue the spirit of partnership and collectively efficacy to keep the fluidity of intermodal freight transport. We will continue to review and learn as we move towards this “new normal” and share our best practices to find solutions for our customers to cope with the disruption while we also seek to maintain our reach and take appropriate measures to minimize our exposure.
IWA:What are the challenges we are likely to face in trying to build a new normal survival mechanism and how best can we get around the challenges?

David: Collaboration across the ecosystem participants is still a key driver for supply chain visibility and efficiency. The traditional supply chain visibility has mirrored the linear logistics flow with documents published and often passed along the chain.With Trade Lens, information and documents are available on demand, in near real time, to permissioned parties. Breaking down silos, supply chain partners can take action earlier and with more certainty.With new technology available today, combined with a strong permission model, the linear logistics chain can now be re-imaged into a more circular, information on demand platform that will drive efficiencies across all connected parties.
IWA: Are there things we are likely to gain in the new way we have started to do things or everything is all bad?  
David: We are all still learning from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with the current situation it is important that all players take a holistic supply chain approach that factors the processes and defines the controls to ensure that disruptions risks are managed. Mitigation is key and using more integrated supply chains increases visibility during a crisis, making it easier to implement strategies and cushion the overall business impact. From our experience, we have seen digital transformation already occurring and also increased interest in our global integrator solutions available for our customers across Africa and globally.

Bristow shows commitment to safety with COVID-19 Rescue

Bristow Helicopters Nigeria, one of the leading providers of the aviation services to the global offshore energy industry swung into full safety mode to tackle the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

In accordance with safety measures and efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19, Bristow instituted temperature checking across all its bases in collaboration with its primary aeromedical provider.

In addition, nurses were provided throughout the working day to provide staff and clients going offshore with the safety assurance that every passenger transiting their facilities in Lagos and Port Harcourt.

With zero case of COVID-19, Bristow is leveraging the wealth of experience garnered during the Ebola outbreak of 2014 and their experience with Search and Rescue operations worldwide.

Bristow has also taken a bold decision to outfit a primary and ‘back up’ helicopter dedicated to providing ‘best in class’ COVID Rescue for the offshore Industry. To date this is the only service of its type available in Africa.

The offshore helicopter firm debut with a specially retrofitted a Leonardo AW 189 aircraft which is equipped with two isolation pods and 2 seats for a doctor and a nurse, which boost to be the first of its type to be operated in Africa. 

With several successful missions carried out with the aircraft, Bristow Managing Director, Capt. Dapo Oyeleke said, “Bristow has once again  demonstrated its commitment to leading  from the front when it comes to safety and the provision of proactive solutions to the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry’.

This service has brought a layer of additional safety to the Industry as COVID-19 cases can be transported without any risk of infection to crew and support personnel. The patient is transported in a fully sealed and ventilated isolation pod. 

“We are proud to have been able to offer this service and remain grateful to the Oil & Gas Industry for recognizing the value this service brought at a time of heightened risk” said Mayowa Babatunde the Senior Manager Business Development for Bristow Helicopters Nigeria.

Delta Air Lines teams up with RB, the maker of Lysol®, to advance Delta CareStandard and disinfection protocols

Delta is partnering with RB, the makers of Lysol®, to drive greater confidence in travel by innovating cleaner more hygienic experiences for customers and employees, alike. The partnership will pair Delta’s strength in safety and operational rigor with Lysol’s 130 years of germ-kill expertise and innovation to continue improving upon Delta CareStandardSM protocols launched during the COVID-19 pandemic across Delta airport locations and on board our aircraft.

Keeping surfaces clean is one of the areas the Delta CareStandard focuses on, along with giving travelers more space, cleaner air and providing safety and personal care from check-in to baggage claim, and every point in between. Together, Delta’s newly established Global Cleanliness division and Lysol will strengthen current Delta CareStandardcleanliness efforts and create the gold standard across touchpoints through:

Breakthrough Disinfection Innovation: Delta and Lysol will work together to gather insights on consumers’ travel experiences to help inform the development of new, innovative disinfecting solutions for both the airport and onboard experience. We will also work together to identify and address ongoing germ-related travel concerns for customers. One of the first areas of focus will be developing breakthrough airplane lavatory solutions to help kill germs and protect customers and crew.

Disinfecting Protocols and Best Practices: Microbiologists and germ-kill experts from Lysol will coordinate with Delta Global Cleanliness team to develop protocols for disinfection that will help protect customers against illness-causing bacteria and viruses in high-traffic areas where customers are most concerned about germs including departure gates, aircraft lavatories and Delta Sky Clubs. Delta will also deploy Delta Care Carts including EPA-approved disinfection products recommended by Lysol, making it easier to disinfect large seating areas and countertops more frequently.  

Lysol Products: Lysol will provide products to Delta, including Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, to be used with disinfecting protocols recommended by Lysol on high-touch germ hotspots across Delta areas from check-in to baggage claim.  

The US Environmental Protection Agency recently approved both Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes among the first to test effective against the novel coronavirus when used as directed on hard, non-porous surfaces.

“There’s no finish line for cleanliness – there’s always more we can do to innovate and elevate our already-high standards because that’s what our customers and employees expect and deserve,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer. “The experts at Lysol share our drive for innovative, continuous improvement – they’re the best at their craft. That’s why we’re excited to get started on R&D to target germ ‘hot spots’ and cement the Delta CareStandard as the industry gold standard – so customers feel confident in choosing Delta as more people return to travel.”

“Our collaboration with Delta is exciting because they have clearly demonstrated great leadership, care and commitment to cleanliness and innovation across their customer and employee touchpoints. Our shared vision to create breakthrough solutions within our industries, while bolstering current disinfection protocols will support Delta customers in feeling confident when they travel,” said Rahul Kadyan, E.V.P., North America, Hygiene, Lysol. “At Lysol, we’re committed to offering products and providing germ-kill expertise as defined by our purpose, which is to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world.”

Delta also recently announced a collaboration with Mayo Clinic to provide additional COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures for travelers and employees. This includes guidance on an unprecedented employee COVID-19 testing program, ensuring that virtually all

Delta employees will be tested in just a matter of weeks via onsite and at-home testing. Mayo Clinic also recommends best practices for employee and passenger safety as part of Delta’s Global Medical Advisory Panel that reviews and assesses Delta’s health and safety policies and procedures on an ongoing basis. 

Learn more about the Delta CareStandard and Delta’s health and safety protocols.

Emirates boost Nigerian travellers’ confidence with free medical cover

World’s first airline to offer its passengers free cover for COVID-19 
medical expenses and quarantine costs, when they fly to any destination, 
in any class of travel

Dubai, UAE, 23 July 2020 – Emirates customers can travel with 
confidence, as the airline will cover medical expenses of up to EUR 
150,000 and quarantine costs of EUR 100 per day for 14 days, should they 
be diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel, while they are away from 
home. This cover is provided by the airline, free of charge to its 

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Group Chairman and Chief 
Executive said: “Under the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, 
UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Emirates is 
proud to lead the way in boosting confidence for international travel. 

We know people are yearning to fly as borders around the world gradually 
re-open, but they are seeking flexibility and assurances should 
something unforeseen happen during their travel.”

He added: “Emirates has worked hard to put in place measures at every 
step of the customer journey to mitigate risk of infection, and we have 
also revamped our booking policies to offer flexibility. We are now 
taking it to the next level, by being the first in the industry to offer 
our customers free global cover for COVID-19 medical expenses and 
quarantine costs should they incur these costs during their travel. It 
is an investment on our part, but we are putting our customers first, 
and we believe they will welcome this initiative.”

First airline in the world to offer free, global cover for COVID-19 related costs.

This cover for COVID-19 related medical expenses and quarantine costs is 
offered by Emirates free of cost to its customers regardless of class of 
travel or destination. This cover is immediately effective for customers 
flying on Emirates until 31 October 2020 (first flight to be completed 
on or before 31 October 2020). It is valid for 31 days from the moment 
they fly the first sector of their journey. This means Emirates 
customers can continue to benefit from the this cover, even if they 
travel onwards to another city after arriving at their Emirates 

Customers do not need to register or fill in any forms before they 
travel, and they are not obligated to utilize this cover provided by 

Any impacted customer who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 during their 
travel simply has to contact a dedicated hotline to avail of assistance 

and cover.

The hotline number, and details of what COVID-19 related expenses are 
covered, is available on

Flexibility and assurance

With the gradual re-opening of borders over the summer, Emirates has 
revised its booking policies to offer customers more flexibility and 
confidence to plan their travel. Customers whose travel plans are 
disrupted by COVID-19 related flight or travel restrictions, can simply 
hold on to their ticket which will be valid for 24 months and rebook to 
fly at a later time; request travel vouchers to offset against future 
Emirates purchases, or request refunds via an online form on Emirates’ 
website or via their travel booking agent.

Emirates currently serves over 60 destinations in its network, 
facilitating travel between the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle 
East and the Asia Pacific through a convenient connection in Dubai for 
customers across the world.

Dubai is open: Customers from Emirates’ network can now to travel to 
Dubai as the city has re-opened for business and leisure visitors with 
new air travel protocols that safeguard the health and safety of 
visitors and communities. For more information on entry requirements for 
international visitors to Dubai, visit:

Health and safety first: Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of 
measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of 
its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the 
distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, 

hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers. For more 
information on these measures and the services available on each flight, 

Travel restrictions: Customers are reminded that travel restrictions 
remain in place, and travellers will only be accepted on flights if they 
comply with the eligibility and entry criteria requirements of their 
destination countries. Visit:

Dubai residents can check the latest travel requirements at:

Slum2School Seeks Partnership to Support 10,000 More Children across Underserved Communities to join its Virtual Learning Program.

Having virtually connected 948 children from several slums & remote communities to tutors, mentors, guidance & counsellingspecialists, the newly launched Slum2School Virtual Learning Studio/Classrooms, the first of its kind in Nigeria & Africa, has sparked up a campaign to sponsor and onboard 10,000 children in underserved communities across Nigeria between July 2020 and December 2020. 

The Slum2School Virtual Learning Studio/Classroom is a state-of-the-art virtual space for learning where various activity and discussion-based classroom experience can be recreated. It connects learners from several communities and cities who can easily log in concurrently and join real-time, case-based class sessions with their peers, teachers and trainers. It is a powerful innovative learning space not only for the students but the teachers and helps bring a much more intimate, measurable and equitable opportunity for learning.

The Virtual Learning Classroom is scalable, aids a blended and hybrid learning, is affordable and is truly effective for remote face to face learning.

For the past 8 years, Slum2School has remained committed to providing access to quality education, health care, and a happy community to thousands of children living in slums and remote communities in Nigeria, leveraging various private and public partnerships and a teeming strength of over 10,800 volunteers across several countries to sponsor and support a wholisticeducation process for the increasing number of out-of-school-children, particularly children living in underserved, hard-to-reach communities.

Watch the incredible impact being created amidst an on-going pandemic:

Having sponsored, mentored and overseen the overall growth and developmental process for over 3,000 children who were previously out-of-school in Nigeria and living in hard to reach communities while impacting a total of over 87,000 beneficiaries through other forms of medical missions and psycho-social support, the newly launched Slum2School Virtual Learning Program, has expanded the definition and reach of digital learning  for Nigeria’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities having provided educational tablets and internet subscription to all current the learners and connecting them to professional tutors and mentors from all industries. 

The goal to on board 10,000 children is geared towards ensuring that the right of every child to education, good health, and a happy connected community is upheld during and beyond a global pandemic, to ensure that the talents of Nigeria’s most precious resource, her children, is nurtured adequately and to ensure that every child regardless of their soci0-economic background, is equipped with all they need to go after their dreams while remaining instrumental to nation building. 

In a statement to the Press, Slum2School’s Head of Operations & Communication, Ruth Ebe, emphasized the collective responsibility it takes from individuals, volunteers, partners within the private and public sector, in ensuring that hope is restored for every child. She invited all interested organizations and individuals to join forces to see that this innovative program is supported, sustained and scaled.

Read more and get involved with the Virtual Learning Program:


The Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC (SAHCO) has conducted her 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM)at the SAHCO Complex at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. 

The AGM was conducted in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on the conduct of Annual General Meeting via proxies as part of the measures to mitigate the negative effect created by the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

During the event, SAHCO PLC declared a dividend of N 223,340,700 at 16.5k (Sixteen and a half kobo) per share which is payable less with the appropriate withholding tax at the time of payment. 

Speaking during the AGM, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman of the company said he is delighted to address a larger pool of shareholders for the first time even if it is virtually. According to him “You will recall that SAHCO became a publicly quoted company after its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in the last quarter of 2018, the listing, a natural progression in our post-privatisation strategic growth plan, is also in furtherance of the vision to becoming the preferred ground handling company in the West African sub-region in terms of revenue, clientele base, quality of service, customer satisfaction, innovation and return on investment.

Dr Afolabi went on to emphasize that when SIFAX Group bought SAHCO, only 7 per cent of the market share was controlled by SAHCO but that has increased to 55 percent over the years for ground handling while in cargo handling SAHCO controls 70 percent of the market share.

In his remarks, Basil Agboarumi, Managing Director/CEO,SAHCO PLC said the Single Africa Air Transport Market initiative contributed to the growth of the Nigeria Aviation industry and Ground Handling sub-sector in 2019. “Essentially, three African Carriers made their entrances into the Nigeria market; TAAG Angola, Cabo Verde Airlines and Air Senegal. However, Air Namibia suspended their flights to Lagos over unresolved diplomatic issues” He said the company is ready to attract new Airlines as we expect new startup airlines before the year ends which are; NG Eagle and Green Africa.

Agboarumi also went on to say that in the year under review, SAHCO recorded an increase of 24.5 per cent in its revenue from N6,136.412 bn in 2018 to N7,665,990 bn in 2019. He emphasized that this remarkable shift was achieved through the resilience of the entire workforce, aggressive marketing strategies that saw to the addition of our clientele list, concerted efforts of cost containment and effective internal control processes.

He stated that the management intended to reposition SAHCO PLC as the best ground handling company in West Africa by acquiring more client airlines using the leverage of being the preferred handling partner of British Airways and other global carriers already in her fold.

Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC is an aviation ground handling company that is involved in activities like Passenger Handling, Ramp Handling, Cargo Handling and warehousing and all the actions that takes place from the time an aircraft touches down on the tarmac to the time it is airborne, while also ensuring that Ground Handling assignment is carried out in an efficient, speedy and safe manner, while deploying the right tools.