Delta launches Unique Global Cleanliness Division to drive long-term commitment to clean

Delta is establishing the airline’s first Global Cleanliness division, a new department within the Customer Experience organization dedicated to innovating and evolving our already-high cleanliness standards.

In the three months since the global pandemic dramatically impacted the world, teams across Delta quickly and effectively established a new standard of cleanliness for Delta, and our industry. This latest move is a unique way for the global carrier to continue bringing laser focus to cleanliness efforts as part of the layers of protection we are offering customers.

The cleanliness transformation that customers experience today it is the foundation upon which Delta’s future travel experience is being built for our customers to enjoy. Leading the organization is Mike Medeiros, vice president – Global Cleanliness.

“Mike has been a steadfast leader in our transformation and cleanliness focus to date, effectively working across teams to coordinate our massive efforts at scale,” said Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer. “This team will bring the same focus and rigor to cleanliness that we’re known for in transforming customer expectations for on-time, completion and baggage performance, so that customers can feel confident when choosing to fly with us.”

The Global Cleanliness organization will further develop and execute Delta’s cleanliness standards, methods and quality management to ensure a consistently safe and sanitized experience across our facilities and aircraft for employees and customers, alike.

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our colleagues and our customers,” Medeiros added. “I’m looking forward to innovating our processes and elevating our standards so that every customer, every flight feels confident in their choice to fly with Delta.”

AFRICAN DESTINATIONS MEET TO PLAN GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR TOURISM

Recovery and resilience were the central themes as the members of the World Tourism Organization’s Regional Commission for Africa (CAF) met for the 63rd time today. Reflecting the extraordinary circumstances, the meeting was held virtually, bringing together Ministers of Tourism from across the region with representatives of the African Union, the West African Monetary Union and from the private sector, to plot a united course towards a stronger and better tourism sector.

Held as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) leads the global restart of tourism, the meeting enjoyed the virtual presence of 140 participants from 30 countries, including 24 Ministers of Tourism. They were joined by representatives of 10 international organizations and by members of the UNWTO Affiliate Members network.

Priorities to unlock Africa’s tourism potential 

As well as addressing the immediate challenge posed by COVID-19, discussions also focused on the key areas of UNWTO’s Agenda for Africa, a roadmap designed to guide the sector in sustainable growth up to 2030. These priorities include enhancing Africa’s tourism Infrastructure, boosting air connectivity, easing visa facilitation, ensuring the safety and security of tourists, investing in the development of human capital development, and improving the image of Africa to the rest of the world.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Africa’s tourism potential is undeniable, as is the potential of tourism to drive inclusive development across the continent. The steady easing of travel restrictions, first within nations and then across international borders, will allow the many social and economic benefits of tourism to return. If tourism’s restart is managed in a responsible and coordinated manner, harnessing the power of innovation and entrepreneurship, then it can transform millions of lives and help protect and preserve Africa’s rich cultural and natural heritage.”

If tourism’s restart is managed in a responsible and coordinated manner, harnessing the power of innovation and entrepreneurship, then it can transform millions of lives and help protect and preserve Africa’s rich cultural and natural heritage

Realigning the Agenda for Africa

Joining Mr Pololikashvili for the 63rd meeting of the CAF was the group’s current chairman Roland Chitotela, who also serves as Minister of Tourism and Arts, Zambia, and the African Union was represented by its Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid. All participants welcomed the latest initiatives designed at growing African tourism announced by the Secretary-General, including the Brand Africa marketing competition and a fresh emphasis on showcasing African gastronomy and using this as a new market for sustainable tourism and job creation.

In the run-up to the meeting, UNWTO’s Member States took part in an online survey through which they were invited to share their thoughts on how the UNWTO Agenda for Africa can be utilized to accelerate recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and build resilience for the future. Participants expressed a strong desire to see the top five key areas of the Agenda for Africa prioritized in order to support swift and sustainable recovery. These priorities are: unlocking growth through investment and through effective public-private partnerships; promoting innovation and technology; visa facilitation and enhanced connectivity; advocating for Brand Africa, and fostering greater resilience, including through enhanced safety and security for tourists.

User-funded Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) for Scaling up Federal Road Infrastructure in Nigeria By Wofai Ibiang

With the advent of falling oil prices and its enormous impact on the Nigerian economy, the Nigerian government must consider strategies to increase productivity in other sectors of the economy like agriculture. The majority of Nigerians live in rural areas and engage in subsistent farming, so roads are the primary means of transportation. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of all traffic is through road transport. According to the Global Infrastructure Hub, Nigeria has a $221 billion investment gap in infrastructure, and road transport constitutes $84 billion of it. Given this considerable deficit, the government must seek non-traditional project finance models that leverage medium to long term funds from banks and development finance institutions. User-pays PPPs or concessions can be an effective procurement mechanism to solve Nigeria’s lag in delivering much-needed road infrastructure.

Federal expressways connect the major cities and seaports and stretch from the Southern part of the country to the North. Because urban centers depend on local farmers for agricultural produce, these roads are a critical part of food supply chains. Conversely, the rural communities depend on the urban areas for processed goods and machinery, which are mostly transported by road; thus, good roads are essential. However, the persistent dilapidation of Nigerian roads coupled with inadequate road networks cripple this flow and undermine efforts towards growth. 

Transportation infrastructure increases productivity and leads to improvements in standards of living and growth. A recent World Bank report indicates that the Nigerian economy could increase by up to 4-percentage points if there were an increase in infrastructure investment. 

The Problem

The government has cited budget constraints and competing needs as significant impediments to delivering infrastructure. Presently, government-pays models are popular for Nigerian infrastructure projects. However, past projects reveal that this model hasn’t yielded the desired outcomes. Most roads are poorly maintained or not maintained at all, and road networks remain inadequate to serve the burgeoning population. 

Although previous user-payer concessions such as the Lekki-Ikoyi toll bridge have been criticized for toll increases, the project provided an essential infrastructure for people living in the city. Rather than fixate on its shortcomings, the focus should be on mitigating the challenges of such PPPs. Nigeria’s infrastructure sector needs a funding model that ensures that project partners reap benefits commensurate with the risk that they are shouldering, as stated in the contracts, with minimum resistance from users, including citizens, local communities, and politicians. 

Most times, when new governments, especially of opposing parties, take over, there is a tendency to resist previous concession arrangements. They often create obstacles mostly for political reasons, and because the new governments do not get any direct financial benefit. The solution here is to establish a proper level and structure of tariffs before a concession is awarded, with clear tariff readjustment rules.

Concessions should also be awarded to qualified bidders by auctioning the lowest subsidy if necessary. Qualification conditions should include a minimum balance sheet, a solid financial performance track record, and experience and technical capability. For example, companies with the size and track record like Julius Berger would not only have the ability to raise long term financing for road projects in Nigeria but would also likely deliver quality projects that could drive down maintenance costs. The qualification conditions should be unambiguous and capable of being answered with a simple “yes or no” to avoid disputes. 

Because potential bidders will probably apply a higher discount rate to payments made throughout the life of the contract than the government would, the net present value of the concession fee to the government is likely to be higher if it is structured as an annual payment. Structuring lease payments as a flow of payments over the concession’s life, rather than a single lump-sum disbursement at the beginning of the concession, is a better approach. Moreover, this will facilitate new governments’ buy-in for the concession arrangements, because they will also benefit from the concession. Also, the resistance from the people toward toll projects will be minimized where the benefits are perceived to outweigh the cost of the toll fees. When the toll is capped, the government can issue complementary payments for low-income users or subsidies to investment after construction. The defining characteristic should be payment contingent on performance. 

User-pays PPPs have been used to fill deficits and increase service delivery in road infrastructure in many other countries with budget constraints. The success of these partnerships hinged on the professionalism of the contracting agency within the public sector. For instance, the Second Vivekananda Bridge and Tollway, Kolkata-Howrah project in India, which was executed through a public-private partnership, using a design-build-operate-transfer (DOBT) model. The 3.8-mile six-lane tollway project completed in 2007 is lauded as the world’s first multi-span, cable-supported bridge with short pylons. It was part of the country’s national program to upgrade essential infrastructure. To speed construction and achieve a faster return on investment, the Indian National Highways Authority opted for private financing, awarding the special purpose vehicle (SVBTC), the right to operate the revenue-producing bridge and tollways under a 30-year agreement. 

PPPs are unlikely to eliminate traditional public procurement mechanisms for the financing and development of infrastructure; they are not a panacea for all infrastructure projects. However, optimizing the advantages of private sector participation in infrastructure construction and management depends on the government’s effective contracting and procurement. Stakeholder management and communication are also vital. A mechanism that ensures that the stakeholders, including the users of the asset, are duly consulted and informed of decisions that affect them, should be set up for every project. There is an imperative for transparency. Citizens should have access to easy-to-understand information about projects, and accountability and redress mechanisms should be installed to give voice to the Nigerian people and allow them to lodge complaints related to the projects. 

Wofai Ibiang is an International Development Professional and a Master of International Public Policy (MIPP) Graduate of The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Washington D.C

Delta blocks middle-seat selection for more space cap cabin seating through Sept. 30

Delta is extending our commitment to make more space for safer travel by continuing to block the selection of middle seats and capping seating in every cabin through Sept. 30, 2020.

Through Sept. 30, Delta will ensure more space for customers on all aircraft by capping seating at 50% in First Class; 60% in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, and Delta Premium Select; and 75% in Delta One to reduce the total number of customers on board.

All middle seats will continue to be shown as unavailable or not assignable when selecting seats via the Fly Delta app or online. It will also continue to block the selection of some aisle seats in aircraft with 2×2 seating configurations.

“Reducing the overall number of customers on every aircraft across the fleet is one of the most important steps we can take to ensure a safe experience for our customers and people,” said Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch. “Delta is offering the highest standards in safety and cleanliness so we’re ready for customers when they’re ready to fly again.” He added.

Starting June 10, Delta will resume automatic, advance Medallion Complimentary Upgrades to Delta One (domestic U.S.), First Class and Delta Comfort+ –  whichwere previously being managed at the gate.

On routes where increasing customer demand is driving flight loads closer to caps, Delta will look for opportunities to upsize to a larger aircraft type or add more flying.

Delta also requires customers and employees to wear face coverings throughout the travel journey to ensure an extra layer of protection while Adding social distance markers in check-in lobbies, Delta Sky Club check-in areas, at the gate and down the jetbridge to encourage customers to stand apart. 

In addition, Delta will Wipe down check-in lobbies, self-service kiosks, gate counters and baggage claims many times throughout the day. And by summer, Delta teams will be using electrostatic spraying in all airports Delta serves in the U.S. the same measure used on every Delta flight prior to boarding. 

Delta have also started electrostatic spraying at TSA checkpoints in key markets and are working with the TSA to provide electrostatic spraying at all checkpoints in the airports Delta serves.

Using state-of-the-art air circulation systems with industrial-grade HEPA filters on many Delta aircraft that extract more than 99.99% of particles, including viruses.

Also Boarding all flights from back to front, will reduce the instances of customers passing by one another to reach their seats.

Streamlining onboard food and beverage service on all flights and encouraging customers to pack their own food and non-alcoholic beverages to decrease physical touch points.

Delta will be Providing supplies directly to customers when available, including hand sanitizers, care kits and other protective equipment to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and continue to work with health experts, partners and healthcare industry leaders on best practices.

While Delta is redefining the industry standard of clean and making more space on board for customers, Delta will also continuing to offer added flexibility if travel plans change by extending change-fee waiver for new flights purchased through June 30, providing customers the option to change their plans without a fee for a year from the date of purchase, stating that the waiver also applies to award tickets and redeposit fees.

Emirates offers flights for passengers to 29 cities and resumes transits through its Dubai hub

• More flights for passengers will be available from 15th June between Dubai and 16 cities: Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, New York JFK, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane.• Travellers flying between Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas, can connect safely and efficiently through Dubai.• Travel restrictions remain in place at most destinations.

Dubai, UAE, 8 June 2020 – Following the UAE Federal Government’s announcement to lift restrictions on transit passengers services, from 15th June Emirates will offer passenger services to 16 more cities on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. With travel restrictions remaining in place in most countries, customers are reminded to check entry and exit requirements before their journeys.

Flights to the following cities will be available for booking on emirates.com or via travel agents: Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, New York JFK, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane.

In addition, from 8th June Emirates will offer flights from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad for travellers from Pakistan who wish to connect onwards to other Emirates destinations.

With this latest announcement, Emirates will be offering flights for passengers on the back of its scheduled cargo operations from Dubai to 29 cities, including existing flights to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne and Manila (from 11th June).

Customers can book to fly between destinations in the Asia Pacific and Europe or the Americas, with a convenient connection in Dubai, as long as they meet travel and immigration entry requirements of their destination country.

Working closely with the UAE authorities, Emirates continues to take a measured and phased approach to flight resumption and rebuilding connections between Dubai and the world.

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.

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. Residents returning to the UAE can check the latest requirements at: https://www.emirates.com/ae/english/help/flying-you-home/

Trade Facilitation/Revenue Generation: Tincan Island Port Area Command Deploys “Time Release Study Tool” – Comptroller Musa MBA.


…rakes in N117.839,418,332.16, as revenue between January-April 2020.
The Customs Area Controller of Tincan Island Port Area Command, Comptroller Musa MBA, and his management have clearly shown the resolve to continue deploying several measures to boost trade facilitation process in the area command. Recently, in an interactive session Comptroller Musa, held with some other stakeholders in his office, he said that the area command just introduced what is known as “Time Release Study Tool”, which is essentially a strategic plan aimed at determining the actual time required for the release and clearance of goods right from the time of arrival to physical release from Customs control.
At the interactive session, Comptroller Musa MBA, highlighted the fact that “Time Release Study” (TRS), is a strategic tool, meant to identify operational bottlenecks in the trade value chain so as to eradicate them. This he said, will make it easier for them to create an enabling environment for effectiveness and efficiency in the operations of the area command. He said the introduction of Time Release Study’’ (TRS) in their operations coupled with other strategies they had in place, significantly contributed to area been able to generate a total of One hundred and seventeen billion, eight hundred and thirty-nine million, four hundred and eighteen thousand, three hundred and thirty-two naira and sixteen kobo (N117,839,418,332.16 billion) between January and April, 2020. He said he was particularly pleased that this feat was achieved in spite of the current national health and economic crises triggered by COVID-19 pandemic. The revenue figure he said, shows an increase of over eleven billion over revenue generated in the same period in 2019 which amounts to the sum of One hundred and six billion, six hundred and forty-four million, six hundred and forty-three thousand, nine hundred and seventeen naira and twenty-five kobo (106,644,643,917.25) generated same period in 2019, thus reflecting a difference of Eleven billion, one hundred and ninety-four million, seven hundred and seventy-four thousand, four hundred and fourteen naira and ninety-one kobo (411,194,774,414.91). Whilst responding to issues bordering on challenges facing the command amid Covid-19, the Comptroller reiterated the readiness of the Command to ensure adherence and compliance with the extant protocols by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) towards containing the spread of the virus. He disclosed that prior to the outbreak of the virus, the Command had conducted series of seminars and awareness campaigns aimed at sensitizing the officers and men as well as other stakeholders on measures to adopt in dealing with the menace. These measures, according to the CAC, would be sustained even post-Covid-19 era. “Even at the outbreak of this pandemic when pressure, anxiety and general apprehension was the order of the day, the Command demonstrated resilience, sagacity and compassion in its approach to the novel Pandemic, such that tension was reduced from the psyche of the operatives and confidence was inspired which enabled them to attend to their functions without any fret or hindrances”. He said: "We use this medium to remind Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the numerous incentives by the Federal Government in the area of export to draw and attract the consciousness of Nigerians to the advantages in export trade,’’ especially at this moment when it has become compelling for the diversification of the economy for national development". While assuring that the command will continue to support and encourage the culture of compliance with fiscal and monetary policies, he promised a rewarding system for compliant traders. To minimize contacts with the public and other stakeholders, the comptroller said: `We have developed a framework and different layers for channeling of official complaints, including the Help Desk for speedy resolution of trade disputes. Efforts are also being made to ensure continuous stakeholder engagement and collaboration for the actualization of the joint responsibilities of creating business-friendly environments that will encourage trade and investments as well as boost the morale of stakeholders.
In spite of the challenges, the Command will not let down its guards in pursuance of its official mandate.’’ The Comptroller expressed his appreciation for the logistics support and advice from the Customs management led by retired Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.) and also applauded the renewed commitment and zeal of the officers and men which is evidenced in the operational profile of the Command. He also acknowledged the collaboration and support of heads of security and regulatory agencies at the port, describing it asconsistent efforts’’ in supporting the Command to realize its statutory mandate.
My commendation also goes to the Maritime media stakeholders including print, electronic and online publications for their quality reportage of the happenings in the sector. I thank the stakeholders for their continuous engagement with the Command and I request the strengthening of this collaboration,’’ the comptroller said.

UCHE EJESIEME
Command Public Relations Officer
Tincan Island Port Area Command

SAHCO TAKES OVER BRITISH AIRWAYS GROUND HANDLING CONTRACT

The Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) PLC, a Public Limited Liability company, and a subsidiary of SIFAX Group has taken over the ground handling services of British Airways. By this development, SAHCO PLC will be providingPassenger and Ramp Handling services to British Airways at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

SAHCO has been able to attract and retain the confidence of British Airways due to the seamless, safe and speedy service delivery which SAHCO is known for prompting British Airways to move her Passenger and Ramp Handling services to SAHCO. The move took effect with the handling of the evacuation flight which occurred on the 8th of May, 2020.

British Airways (BA) is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, Headquartered at Waterside, Harmondsworth, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport.

SAHCO is the only Aviation Ground Handling company that is present in all the commercially operated airports in Nigeria. In recent times, many foreign airlines have moved their aviation ground handling operations to SAHCO so as to enjoy being handled by a loyal and dedicated workforce who are well trained and whose integrity is undoubtable, delivering their activities in line with global best practices.

With constant investment in modern aviation ground support equipment fitted with the latest technology; a team of engineers that can build ground support equipment from locally sourced materials which is the first of its kind in Nigeria; a team that is versed in the best of Departure Control systems in the Aviation industry, World Tracer and BRS; world class warehousing services; unrivaled customer friendly service delivery in a safe, speedy and efficient culture; SAHCO treats its clients as partners.

In the same vein, Air France has signed another warehousing contract with SAHCO at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. This means SAHCO will provide Cargo warehousing service throughout the country for Air France. SAHCO has been handling Air France’s Cargo Warehousing inLagos and Port Harcourt which has influenced decision to include the Abuja operations due to their satisfactory first-hand experience.

The clients of SAHCO include the following; Aero Contractors, African World Airways, Air Cote D’Ivoire, Air Peace, Arik Air, Allied Air, Badr Airlines, Bristol Helicopters, Camair-Co, Caverton Helicopters, Dana Air, DHL Aviation, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines, Execujets, Ibom Air, Inter Air, Max Air, Middle East Airlines, Overland Airways, South African Airways, TAAG Angola, Tarco Airlines, Value Jet, Virgin Atlantic Cargo.

It is worthy to note that SAHCO is also the recipient of numerous awards both locally and internationally due to its quality service delivery in aviation ground handling operations in Nigeria. SAHCO is an RA3 and IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) certified company. These certifications make the company a preferred gateway to import and export to European countries and the world at large.

SAHCO, who is a member of the Airport Services Association (ASA), is an Aviation Ground Handling service provider involved in all the activities that takes place from the time an aircraft touches down on the tarmac at the airport to the time it taxis out to be airborne, to the delight of its customers and benefit of all stakeholders, utilizing state-of-the-art skills, procedure, equipment and facilities with a devoted workforce.

UANSOHIA   VANESSA ADETOLA (MRS),

MANAGER, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS,

SKYWAY AVIATION HANDLING COMPANY PLC(SAHCO),

MOBILE: +2348060758584.

E-MAIL:uansohia.vanessa@sahcoplc.com.

12th May, 2020.

The Imperatives of Improving Women’s Health

It is another month of March, and globally it is recognized as the women’s month and the theme of this year’s celebration –“Gender Equality” — is quite insightful and instructive. This means that the international community has come to observe and realize that there is a difference between the sexes. We know that an active person in need of equality should be healthy. This is what has inspired this article. What is health?

Health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) is a state of physical, mental, social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Women, by our very nature, are exposed to certain peculiar health issues which include but is not limited to our reproductive and sexual health; issues pertaining to pregnancy, child bearing, maternal mortality, complications in pregnancy, pre- eclampsia, eclampsia, stillbirth, mother-to-child transmission of diseases, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, abortions, cancers of the reproductive organs, un-consensual sexual activity, and many more.

There are also issues with other causes of death in men and women which tend to affect women more. Today, lung cancer is a leading cause of death amongst other cancers in women. Whereas smoking is a known predisposing cause of lung cancer, the incidence is three times higher in non-smoking women than smoking men. Estrogen, the predominant female hormone, may fuel cancer cell growth or interact with genes that boost the effect of carcinogens. This may be one of the reasons why the incidence is high and the prognosis in women is poor.

Other leading causes of cancer deaths are breast cancer, cancer of the colon and rectum, ovarian cancer, cancer of the cervix (neck of the womb) and cancer of the uterus. Other health matters include raised blood pressure, cardiovascular disorders, osteoporosis, anemia, diabetes, depression, dementia, urinary tract infection, and of course there is also poverty, lack of good education, and absence of a skill she can rely on to provide for her family. Unfortunately, not much is being done in terms of research into peculiar women’s health issues as their representation in the research area is limited.

The moves by the World Organization of Ovulation Method Billings (WOOMB) to bring the good news to Africa are welcome. At its recent International Conference in Cotonou, Benin Republic, the need to educate women about their reproductive health was reiterated. Here, women in all stages of life from menarche when they start their menstruation to menopause when it stops are taught how to manage their reproductive health by observing their body signs and interpreting the findings she has recorded in a chart. It is completely natural and has no side effects. By so doing, she learns to know her fertile and infertile time and to utilize it as the family would need. She is not restricted by breastfeeding or any preexisting medical condition. She does not need to do anything new but just to pay attention.

What can we as women do to stay healthy? The basic minimum we need to do are things that we probably already know, but are not paying attention to. They include but are not limited to the following:

•       To have regular health checks, at least twice in a year. This should include physical examination, a check of the blood pressure, lipid profile, fasting blood sugar, and the blood chemistry. Women over 40 years will need to check their eyes for glaucoma, bone mineral density, thyroid function tests, Pap smear every three years and more. Persons who are at a high risk of STDs will need to do tests for Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV. Your physician will help guide you to do the needful.

It is important that we each have record of our medical history especially if you are seeing a new physician. This summary will bring the doctor up to speed on our health, knowing our current and previous diagnosis, any allergies, and what medications we are currently taking.

•       We have to keep the body moving by doing regular, moderately intense exercise for about 2 – 3 hours weekly; our ancestors were not sedentary, they were hunters and gatherers. These exercises should make us sweat and get our hearts beating fast.

•       Our diet should be tailored to suit our state of health. Basically, we need to avoid processed foods, as they contain preservatives. We need to drink adequate amount of water as it cleanses the body and removes toxins. We should eat foods in the right proportions, rich in fibers, low in carbohydrates and fat.

•       To avoid excessive use of alcohol and recreational drugs, for obvious reasons.

•       Ensure we have adequate sleep especially at nights. I will not put duration to this. Sleep is adequate if we wake up refreshed, on our own without the alarm clock. Our bodies get refreshed in sleep as lots of healing takes place then. And the things we had learnt are filed away in our memory banks during sleep. So sleep is therapeutic.

•       Our day to day life is already stressful as we are responsible for nurturing our families in most cultures, we should therefore learn to minimize stress. When we feel overwhelmed by the events going on in our lives, we should pause, take a break and count five things that are going on well with us at the time and we will definitely find things to be grateful for. We need to learn to take one day at a time and to be grateful very small change.

Sometimes, we take up more activities than we can cope with. It is important to learn to politely, say “NO” sometimes. We may choose to say not at this time which means that we may be open to assisting at some other time.

Finally, I like to advocate that we learn to look out for each other as every little help counts. Happy International Women’s Month to us all.

“CARTERING TO PEOPLE’S WELLBEING IS AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO” – Comptroller Nike Oladunni, Customs Area Controller, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Area Command.

The year 2020 and its concomitant challenges and upheavals will go down in the annals of the nation as one crisis to too many as the coronavirus has unimaginably negatively impacted our world, our country and businesses with incalculable fatalities in terms of human lives and colossal economic losses.

Nevertheless, it is for this reason that I have continued to ponder on the theme of 2020 International Customs Day (ICD) celebration with the theme, “Customs Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet”, which is aimed at highlighting the actions that Customs Service all over the world is taking towards ensuring a sustainable future that caters to the social, economic, health and environmental needs of the people.

Inside Watch Africa (IWA) was able to pin down the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) Area Command, Comptroller Nike Oladunni, for her reactions and views on the theme of this year’s celebration. Her responses are as instructive as they are insightful as she let us into the activities of Customs Area Command at Kirikiri, Lagos.

Oladunni said:“ In my opinion the three main points we are examining in the theme of the International Customs Day, 2020: people, prosperity and the planet, are all encompassing because if we truly focus on and we are able to foster sustainability for the people, then we would have inadvertently fostered sustainability for prosperity and the planet at large. 

Again, looking at the theme, you will agree with me that catering to the wellbeing of the people is at the heart of what we do in Customs globally. Traditionally this theme must have been selected sometime early last year shortly after the celebration of last year’s edition of the World Customs Day which is usually celebrated on the 26th of February annually and it is as if the world Customs Organization knew that the Coronavirus will ravage the world this year as we are experiencing.

I have said this over and over again that to build a nation you must first build the people and to build the world, you must first build a nation. The way to go is to create an environment conducive enough for people to trade and prosper.

As a Customs Officer, I am fully aware that all these things are directly linked and that it is only healthy people that are truly prosperous.  Since the prosperity of the nation is directly linked to the prosperity of the people, I will not stop stressing the fact that importers and Customs clearing agents need to be compliant.

Their compliance with import and export regulations is pivotal to the success of the whole value-chain of any country’s maritime industry.  

For instance, when importers genuinely declare what they actually imported, it makes it a lot easier for us on our part to facilitate the smooth clearing of the cargoes out of the ports. 

Cargo clearance is essentially aligned to international best practices, thus compliant traders generally save themselves from unnecessary delays that may be occasioned by incessant queries at different stages in the clearing process because what was physically found after physical examination was different from what was declared. 

Apart from the negative impact false declaration can have on the economy of a nation in the short and long run, the people can’t afford to allow and should not allow anything they are not sure of into their country as this may expose the countty to some security or health threats and danger.

Nigeria is essentially an importing nation and since on a very regular basis new people are always delving into the import and export business, we cannot stop talking about the need for importers and their agents to be regulations-complaint for their own good in the long run and for the good of the nation in both the short and long run. 

In this Area Command, we constantly engage with all stakeholders, we deliberately allow them raise their concerns and we are always eager to attend to the legitimate concerns as promptly as possible.

As regards the Covid-19 pandemic, in this area command, we have right from the start continued to strictly adhere to all the laid down guidelines of the government. We have wash hand basins strategically placed in and around the area command. We are strictly observing physical distancing and I ensure that all my officers and men as well as everyone that has any business to do in this area command always wear face masks.

We have also drastically reduced human interfacing or contacts in the area command. People don’t really need to see anybody one-on-one to do their jobs as most of the things we do are online. However, if there is a query and a serious need to see any officer, we have advised traders to put their request in writing and they will be promptly attended to. 

The only time more people come together is during physical examination and I have instructed that physical distancing should be strictly observed, insisting that people do not have to cluster. Let me conclude by saying that we are so thankful to God that all the strategies we have deployed are working as we have not recorded a single incident of the Covid-19 in this area command and we shall not record by God’s saving grace.”

“I always ensure that everyone is on the same page”- Comptroller Olugboyega Peters, Customs Area Controller Western Marine Area Command.

Like the experience of most people, it is very unlikely to forget the year 2020 and its concomitant challenges and upheavals in the country and globally in a hurry. I had never imagined that anything could negatively impact our world as the Coronavirus pandemic has done. It is for this reason that I have continued to ponder on the theme of 2020 International Customs Day (ICD) celebration, “Customs Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet”, which is aimed at highlighting the actions that Customs Service all over the world is taking towards ensuring a sustainable future that caters to the social, economic, health and environmental needs of the people.

So IWA decided to take on some Customs Area Controllers in Nigeria on the theme. Their responses are as instructive as they are insightful. Comptroller Olugboyega Peters, the Customs Area Controller, Western Marine Area Command, Lagos, speaks on the efforts and activities of the Command in this challenging period:

Among so many other responsibilities and functions that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) carry out, we are the leading agency that collects the highest revenue for the Federal government of Nigeria, we lead the drive on the suppression of smuggling in Nigeria, and we also collect trade statistical data on behalf of the federal government for economic planning purposes. Without sounding immodest, you will agree with me that all these responsibilities and functions play a pivotal role in fostering socio-economic wellbeing and sustainability of Nigeria and Nigerians and also enhance their economic prosperity and the world at large.

The Nigeria Customs Service as a responsible member of the global Customs community has over the years, as spelt out by the World Customs Organization (WCO), continued to do everything it can to ensure a sustainable future where social, economic, health and environmental needs of Nigerians are well catered for at all times.

Although in this area command, we operate mainly on water, as it is obtainable in other area commands in Nigeria we also work closely with other government agencies such as the Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), etc. to ensure a sustainable future that caters to the social, economic, health and environmental needs of Nigerians.

Therefore, it is easy for us, for instance, to seamlessly refer cases of illegal importation of arms and ammunitions to the Nigeria Police Force for further investigation. In the same manner, we regularly refer cases of substandard goods to Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and refer the ones bordering on foods and drugs to NAFDAC.

The Customs job is very dynamic in nature thus as the Area Controller, I ensure that all officers and men of this area command are constantly on the same page and whatsoever is done at the management level cascades down to everyone in the command no matter how low in rank the person may be. During our parades we pass information to everyone and very seriously too. I consider it expident to also state the fact that in-house seminars and trainings have become a tradition in the Nigeria Customs Service and this is to ensure that all officers and men of the service are frequently kept abreast of the ‘goings-on’ in the global Customs community.  

We have a robust strategy in place for the safety of all the officers and men serving in this command; one of which is that my officers and men know and would not go on patrol unless they are fully kitted in COVID-19 protective gears and life jackets. The cleanliness of the surroundings of the area command is also a top priority because we are fully aware that our wellbeing is directly connected to a clean environment.