Monkey Pox: Quarantine Service Says, We Are On Red Alert At Apapa Seaport

The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has said that it is working assiduously with other agencies to maintain a red alert status at various entry points into the country to prevent  the spread of the emerging monkey pox decease. This is even as the Apapa Command of the service has urged importers and exporters to ensure that their cargoes conform to all regulations, so as not to have them rejected. Speaking with Shipping Position Daily exclusively at the end of a workshop organised by the Apapa Command of NAQS, its Station Coordinator, Dr. Steven Ekoro assured that the agency is collaborating with relevant agencies like the Port Health, the Veterinary Service Department and the Ministry of Health to make sure that monkey pox is contained. Dr. Ekoro affirmed that the function of the Quarantine Service is important to the nation's agricultural economy. He described the war against Boko Haram terrorists group as infinitesimal, saying that the greatest is war against pathogens. According to him, the mandate of NAQS includes preventing foreign pests and deceases from accompanying goods into the country, if they enter, to stop their spread by containing them.  "Monkey pox is an emerging decease which we don't know the root yet, we are collaborating with relevant agencies like the Port Health, The Veterinary Service Department and the Ministry of Health to make sure that since the monkey pox has already entered the country, we would contain it just like we did in the case of Ebola" "In the case of Ebola, we worked with other relevant agencies to contain it. As I speak with you, the headquarters of NAQS in Abuja are now working together with others to contain it. The disease is already in the country, but we would ensure that it does not spread" "Here at Apapa seaport, you see volumes of import and export and this is why we are having the gridlock here everyday. If we don't certify all these products, it is going to have a serious effect on our agricultural economy. The war against Boko Haram is infinitesimal, the greatest war is war against pathogens, this is why under international law, countries are not allowed to use chemical and biological weapons. We are on red alert to ensure they are not allowed into the country through Apapa" "What we do here is also replicated at the airport and land borders to ensure that Nigeria bound cargoes are free from pathogens and pests. We are the first line of defense to Nigerian Agricultural economy" he assured Speaking on the essence of the seminar organised by the command which was tagged; NAQS: A First Line of Defense to Nigerian Agricultural Economy", Dr. Ekoro said that NAQS is one of the agencies like customs, NAFDAC AND SON that has been approved to operate on the red alert channels at the ports of entry to inspect and certify agricultural commodities against pest and deceases. In a paper presentation titled, 'The mandate of the Quarantine service', he urged importers and exporters bringing in agricultural goods to be aware and ensure that whatever they import is fit for human consumption and it would not destroy the country agriculture by way of carrying pests and pathogen. "As for the exporters, they should know that it is a source of market value to them to produce goods that are good, certified and meets international standards and world trade organisations agreement otherwise they would be rejected" The workshop also drew participants and paper presentations from agencies like Nigeria Customs Service, Port Health, Safety Department of ENL Consortium among others.