The Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Bashir Adeniyi has revealed why the Service decided to initiate the work-life balance for customs personnel across its commands in the country.
The work-life balance initiative was flagged off on Saturday in Abuja, and it featured a 5-kilometre walk from its headquarters in the Wuse area of Abuja to its Corporate Complex in Maitama.
The event with the theme: ‘Balancing for a better tomorrow’ witnessed the Customs boss lead the walk, after which personnel were engaged in dance sessions to further relieve mental stress.
Giving his remarks, Adeniyi said Customs personnel come under pressure to fulfil various obligations, often mentally demanding, and physically exhausting.
“Our officers all over the country work in environments that do not promote good health. Those living in big cities are forced to acquire lifestyles where their commitment is overwhelmingly skewed in favour of work and at the expense of their well-being.
“The implication of this imbalance is shown in the preponderance of many reported cases of medical conditions among our workforce.
“We are witnessing an increase in the reported cases of avoidable diseases like low blood sugar, high pressure, weight control and obesity.”
The Customs boss noted that there was a need for deliberate effort to improve the health condition of its officers through their lifestyle.
He said the decision was reached after it analysed recent data by officers who reported for a five-month training at the Service’s Command and Staff College in Gwagwalada, Abuja.
Adeniyi noted, “As a tradition, we subject all officers that participated in the training through a test at the beginning, middle and end of the month programme.
“Over the period of their training, we discovered that over 50 per cent of our officers return to the college with conditions of high blood pressure, 60 per cent of them with diabetics, 40 per cent with obesity, and other weight-related programmes.
“However, by the end of their training when they go through these lifestyle changes and exercises to improve their health, we always record a positive improvement to the tune of over 50 per cent in all our courses.”
The Nigerian Customs Services said it has established 32 clinics and medical centres across the country to cater to the health needs of its personnel.
“While this has proven to be effective, a more sustainable approach lies in our effort to promote a healthy work-life balance among our officers.”