11 January 2013

Nigeria: FG Orders Return of Toxic Waste to UK

Photo: Vanguard
Some of the ship’s content being examined.

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.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Director General of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr Ngeri Benebo, disclosed this to journalists yesterday.

The Liberian flagged container ship with gross tonnage of 23, 652, which berthed at the Tin-Can Island Port on Wednesday, was intercepted by the Nigeria Customs Service and NESREA.

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.

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 DG said.

Benebo said that the agency was going to work according to Nigerian laws on the matter, adding that the agency would 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,"

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.

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

According to her, Nigeria will never be used as a dumping ground and "we will resist any attempt by any country to make Nigeria dumping ground".

Benebo 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. This is not the first attempt to dump toxic wastes in Nigeria.

The first attempt 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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