The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), with supports from the British High Commission, has provided equipment to 19 Ports of Entry (POE) in Nigeria to boost response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The POE that got the donations are Murtala Muhammed International Airport (Lagos State), Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (Abuja), Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (kano State), Port Harcourt International Airport (Rivers State) and Akanu Ibiam International Airport (Enugu State).
Others are land borders in Jibiya (Katsina State), Illela (Sokoto State), Idiroko (Ogun State), Maigatari (Jigawa State)and Mfum (Cross River State).
Also, Apapa Sea Port in Lagos State and Tin Can Sea Ports in Lagos State, Onne Sea Port (Rivers State), Warri Wharf (Delta State), Port Harcourt Wharf (Rivers State), Calabar Sea Port (Cross River State) and Brass Wharf (Bayelsa State).
At an occasion to hand over the equipment to Port Health Services (PHS) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Friday, the IOM Chief of Mission, Mr. Frantz Celestin, said there was the need to collectively ensure that frontline agencies are protected so that they can effectively manage the vast national borders.
“The PPEs and other equipment we are handing over today [Friday] is a step in the right direction to encourage the continued support to these frontline agencies.
“In addition to the consignment you see today for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, there are various PPEs and hygiene supplies in stock for 18 air, sea and land border ports across the country.
“I am very honoured to hand over these today to PHS and NIS, as testament of the commitment from the British government and IOM to support border management in Nigeria,” Yuki Daizumoto, IOM Nigeria Programme Coordinator who represented the IOM Chief of Mission, said in her remark.
On his part, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagia Ehanire, said the project named “Immediate Response to Covid-19 Pandemic for Effective Border Management in Nigeria”, sponsored by the Government of the United Kingdom and implemented by the IOM in partnership with PHS and NIS, is vital to strengthening and sustaining the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as the country’s POE are set to reopen fully.
Represented at the occasion by Dr Morenike Alex-Okoh, the minister said the selected 19 POE were only the first set of beneficiaries of a range of interventions, which include “IPC materials, fogging machines and knapsack sprayers, PPE items,
IEC materials for education and awareness, three pre-fabricated isolation units and computers.”
Also, delivery of two ambulances and construction of new boreholes is planned for next month and early next year, according to the minister.
He said the first phase of the project, which is nearing successful completion, would contribute to vital response and recovery activities as well as renewed preparedness and capacity to cope with resumption of full international travel.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Ms Gill Atinson, said this new project was an example of what can be achieved, despite the variety of challenging conditions imposed by the virus, through strong collaboration.
“This of course is just the first step, and further support will soon arrive in the shape of the supply of ambulances to Port Harcourt and Kano airports, isolation facilities at Apapa and Warri Sea ports, and the two Northern mega land borders at Illella and Jibiya, and the installation of thermal scanners for all five international airports.”