By Godfrey Bivbere, Godwin Oritse & Ifeyinwa Obi
LAGOSâ€”FEW weeks after the controversial vessel, MV Maersk Nashville, allegedlyÂ carrying a container laden with toxic materials was intercepted in Lagos, another vessel, M.V. Gumel was, yesterday, detained for bringing into the country, eight containers laden with materials suspected to be toxic.
The ship which berthed at the Tin-can Port, was detained on the orders of officials of the National Environmental Standards Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA.
Officials of NESREA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, were inspecting the six 40 footer and two 20 footer containers on board the ship when Vanguard visited the port.
Head of NESREA at the port, Mrs. Miranda Amachree, told Vanguard that they got intelligence report from their counterpart in Antwerp that the vessel was bringing used fridges, used television sets, compressor pots and used batteries.
Amachree explained that the report from Antwerp was a result of the agreement entered into by Nigeria and other nationals to do away with Chloro fluoro carbon, CFC, which were brought in by the vessel.
She said Nigeria was a signatory to Basil Convention which sought to eliminate the use of CFC because of its effect on the ozone layer.
Amachree said: â€œCFC is no longer in use in Europe and what they do is that some of them connive with Nigerians to send them here.â€
She said that the Nigerian Navy would have stopped the vessel from coming into the country since it had the Automated Information System, AIS, but that they did not seem to haveÂ the information on time.
A source in Abuja told Vanguard that 41 containers came from Antwerp but officials in that country intercepted 33 while the other eight got away.
Public Relations Officer of the Tin-Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Christian Osunkwo, who earlier spoke with Vanguard said that Customs got advance notice of the arrival of the vessel since May 21 and that the vessel was watched by Customs officials until the allegation of toxic materials in the containers were confirmed.
Meantime, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, has reassured residents of Kaduna and Nigerians that the gas leakage which occurred on 29 May, in which over 300 people were hospitalized was a result of their inhaling the gas that was under control.
A statement from the agency said: â€œSoon after the leakage was noticed the Agency dispatched a high powered team of officers to the scene of incident at the Scrap Iron Market, DICON Road, Kakuri Industrial Area, Kaduna South, Kaduna State.