Nigeria orders return of toxic waste containers to U.K

Ships fuel laden

Foreign countries are known to dump toxic wastes in Africa.

A ship coming from the United Kingdom with containers laden with tons of harmful waste was intercepted by the Nigeria Custom Service and National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA on Wednesday.

The container was destined to be dumped in Nigeria and contained e- wastes that that can cause deaths, injuries and human defects.The ship carried a gross tonnage of 23, 652, and berthed at the Tin-Can Island Port on Wednesday.

Some containers in the ship were laden with used television sets, used computers, used CPUs, used DVDs, used microwaves, used pressing irons and used stereo sets.

The Director General of NESREA, Ngeri Benebo, confirmed this on Thursday and said that the Federal Government has ordered that the toxic waste laden containers on board MV Marivia Monrovia be shipped back to the port of origin in the U.K.

Ms. Benebo said that sending the consignment back to the port of origin was in conformity with the provisions of Harmful Wastes Act, promulgated after the Koko waste saga.

“We are sending the e-wastes back to the port of origin,” the director said.

She said that the agency will work according to the Nigerian laws on the matter, adding that the agency will do exactly what the laws said. The director general promised that the vessel owners would be heavily sanctioned in line with the laws of the land.

“The captain wanted to deceive Nigerians. … When he realised that there was a red alert on the containers, he lied that the containers were not destined for Nigeria and that they were meant for another country, which was completely false.

“I conferred with the Comptroller General of Customs, who said that once it is manifested as Nigeria, the containers must be dropped and inspected in Nigeria,” she said.

Ms. Benebo said that the inspection of the containers, as directed by the comptroller-general, was carried out by officials of the NPA, NIMASA, the Customs Service and other security agencies.

She said that it was discovered that the containers were meant to be disposed off in Nigeria.

The UK, according to investigations by Green Peace, illegally dumps large deposits of extremely toxic waste in Africa. Also, several Western countries engage in the act in flagrant abuse of International codes of conducts and breach of a responsibility to discard wastes without possessing threats to lives either in the country or abroad.

Year after year, castigation after castigation, toxic wastes are packed into containers and shipped to countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire.

People, including young children, work on this dangerous dump, trying to strip them of their metal; act responsible governments will not allow in their climes.

The illegal dumping of wastes has often been described as vile and environmental racism.

The Green Peace investigations also revealed that some of the waste, a lot of them unusable, find their way to Nigerian markets and are sold to the people.

In response to this, Nigeria promulgated a Harmful Wastes Act. This means the ship will be sent back to the point of origin.

Ms. Benebo said Nigeria will never be used as a dumping ground and “we will resist any attempt by any country to make Nigeria dumping ground”.

She said the agency acted on a tip-off to track down the toxic contents in the ship.

The names of the importers are Messrs Moronuk David and Bonik Investment.

The first attempt to drop harmful waste in Nigeria was in 1988 when a shipment of over 3,500 tonnes of toxic wastes from Italy was imported to Koko Port, a coastal community in the old Bendel State.

In April 2010, the NCS arrested and detained a Maersk Line vessel, MV Nashiville, laden with toxic wastes (lead batteries classified as Basel code A1180 and broken televisions.)

In June 2010, NCS also arrested and detained a ship, Mv Gumel, in Lagos port for bringing eight containers with materials suspected to be toxic wastes. Also, in October 2010, a vessel, MV Vera D, carrying three containers laden with toxic black and white television sets, was detained at the Tin-Can Port, Lagos.

The toxic-laden containers were sent back to the port of origin in the U.S. In Dec. 2012, NESREA impounded four containers of used electronics described as “e-wastes” in Apapa port.




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