Coronavirus: NPA, Shippers’ Council, And Lagos Courts On Lockdown

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THE Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, yesterday, shut down their administrative operations in Lagos State in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This came as the management of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, yesterday, directed a section of its workforce to stay at home for two weeks as part of efforts to guide against the spread of the virus.

Similarly, the Lagos State High and Magistrates’ Courts, yesterday, witnessed a low turnout, yesterday, following the directive of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who ordered the civil servants in the state to stay at home for the next 14 days.

The NPA directed some of its departmental staff to stay away from work for the 14 days with immediate effect.

In a memo, with reference number HQ/CR.AD/G.2 and dated March 23rd 2020, about 10 departments were directed to shut down for the next 14 days to curtail the spread of the virus, while about 13 essential departments would report for duty.

The affected departments include the Corporate and Strategic Communication, Audit, Legal Services, Corporate and Strategic Planning, Managing Director’s office, Monitoring and Regulatory Services, Servicom, Abuja Liaison Office, Human Resource Department, Land and Assets Administration, Enterprises Risk and Management and Superannuation and Investment.

The essential departments that will report for duty are Managing Director, Executive Director Finance and Administration, Procurement, ICT, Medical Services, Marine and Operations, Security, Health Safety and Environment, Facility management, drivers assigned to the Managing Director, Executive Directors and Medical operational drivers Correspondence and mailroom, Departmental Heads and Assistance at the Port level

Before now, the NPA had set up isolation points within the ports area to deal with anyone suspected of having the virus.

It also embarked on sensitization of the virus within the port industry.

Similarly, the Shippers Council, in a memo issued at the weekend, also directed its workers to work from home.

The memo titled: “Suspension of work and partial closure of offices,” directed that all staff are to work from home except those on essential services (Medical, Complaints Handling, and General Services).

The memo reads: “Following the latest report from the National Council for Disease Control, NCDC, and the Lagos State Government regarding the Corona Virus pandemic (Convid-19) in Nigeria especially Lagos, which confirms clear and present danger, the management, after due consultations with the medical unit wishes to observe as follows that although the Council has already taken some necessary measure aimed at preventing the spread of the virus within its offices and among its staff and stakeholders.

“It has become apparent that these measures may not be sufficient to prevent infection as the virus is a global disease that scientists and medics are still trying to understand. What is apparent in the meantime is that the person-to-person “Infectivity rate of the virus is unprecedentedly high which is why organizations, globally are wisely adopting the precautionary measure of suspending activities and closing down offices while watching developments on the pandemic.

“Accordingly, the management wishes to hereby direct that all meetings especially external seminars, conferences are hereby suspended indefinitely. All staff except those on essential services (i.e. Medical, Complaints Handling, and General Services) are, hereby, directed to remain at home and work there from until further notice.”

The council also advised staff, who travelled from countries with high incidences of Convid-19, to self-isolate themselves for 14 days to watch out for symptoms of the virus.

It said: “All staff, who recently returned from countries with high incidences of COVID 19 are hereby directed to self-isolate for 14 days with effect from today and their health conditions and the Medical Unit is hereby directed to monitor the situation among staff and remain accessible to all staff for possible assistance.

“During the period, any staff with any of the widely publicized symptoms of the virus should please contact the Medical Unit for possible assistance and the General Services Department is, hereby, directed to ensure the availability of Council’s Ambulance and other staff vehicles for essential services and also ensure that the security and safety of the Council’s offices and assets are not, in any way, compromised during and after the period of the work suspension.

“All staff are generally advised to conduct themselves responsibly and embrace the widely publicized precautionary measures on COVID-19 such as social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and basic hygiene requirements to ensure their safety. All staff is encouraged to, as much as possible continue to work from home on pending assignments.”

Lagos courts shut for 14 days

Also, the Lagos State Judiciary had restricted courtroom population to 20 persons per court sitting in all its High and Magistrates’ courts.

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, said that the public will be restricted from gaining entry into courtrooms starting from Monday (Yesterday).

Alogba further disclosed that only litigants with urgent matters or applications will be allowed entry into the court.

The CJ gave the directive last Friday in a statement titled: Entry into court premises guidelines’, signed by his Chief Registrar, Mrs. D.T Olatokun.

The directive is part of measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19) and “safeguard the health of court personnel and users.”

It reads: “Members of the general public will not be allowed entry into the court premises, except those who have come to file urgent matters/applications.

“In all cases, only parties whose cases are to be heard, their witness and counsel will be allowed into the courtroom at any sitting time, subject to a maximum of 20 persons altogether.

“In the courtroom, persons shall keep a distance of at least one metre to each other, as recommended by the World Health Organisation, WHO.”

The CJ also directed that in criminal matters only remand/bail applications and overnight cases will be heard.

As for civil matters, “only ex-parte and urgent applications and adoption of written addresses will be entertained. Judgments and rulings will also be read.”

When Vanguard visited some courts, which were always a beehive of activities, the rooms and premises, were like a shadow of its self, as the whole place looked very sketchy

It was observed that at the Igbosere High and Magistrate Courts, the courtrooms were under lock and key.

At the Igbosere Magistrate Court, it was also observed that the courts did not sit.

Unlike the High Court, the security guards at the Magistrate Court prevented people from going into the courtrooms.

A Magistrate, who pleaded anonymity, urged litigants present in the court premises to go home, as their continued stay in the court won’t yield any result.

The magistrate said: “We are obeying the governor’s and judiciary directive that we should stay at home for the next 14 days, because of the Convid-19 pandemic.

“The Convid-19 is a highly contagious disease, and I think people should take precautions and adhere to all the warnings being given.”

UNILAG workers to stay at home

Also, the management of UNILAG, yesterday, asked a section of its workforce to stay at home for two weeks as part of efforts to guide against the spread of the Coronavirus disease.

In a notice, the management said the decision was taken after an emergency management meeting held earlier in the day.

Those affected by the order are workers on CONTISS 1-12.

They are to stay at home for two weeks beginning from Tuesday, March 24 to Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

The memo reads: “The stay-at-home directive is to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Members of staff and the University community at large are enjoined to stay safe by observing all precautionary measures and instructions provided by the NCDC and the Lagos State Government.”

— Vanguard

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