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Day 3: Container of toxic waste still abandoned as NESREA says tests’re ongoing

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AbandDay 3: Container of toxic waste still abandoned as NESREA says test ongoingoned toxic waste container, Customs, CMA CGM, NESREA
The abandoned container of suspected toxic waste.

By Godfrey Bivbere and Providence Adeyinka

Three days after Vanguard’s exclusive report of the presence of a 20-foot container of substance suspected to be toxic waste, the offensive container is still at the Berger Suya area of Apapa, Lagos, where it was abandoned by unknown persons.

The government’s regulatory agency in charge of toxic waste, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, is yet to move the container from the area despite the risk for residents.

Efforts to reach the Public Relations Officer of NESREA, Amaka Ejiofor, proved abortive as she neither picked her call nor responded to a text message sent to her.

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However, a source in NESREA told Vanguard that the test result should be ready by tomorrow (Friday).

Speaking with Vanguard on the issue, immediate past President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Eugene Nweke, said he is not surprised since it is cheaper for international corporations to ship such cargo to countries like Nigeria.

Nweke noted that companies from some Asian countries are fund of shipping such consignments to less-developed countries.

According to him, “It is cheaper to ship and abandon industrial chemical (toxic) wastes to Nigeria ports than go through the rigour of international practices/procedures with regards to treatment and handling of industrial wastes or gas flaring, which poses a great danger to our environment and ecology.

“Again, the essence of International Cargo Tracking Note or a Container Security Initiatives program cannot be overemphasised. One big question, “Is NESRA still functional?” he queried.

Recall that the shipping company, CMA CGM and the three Customs Commands in Lagos have distanced themselves from the controversial container, instead raising questions on how that consignment got to where it is.

A CMA CGM official had told Vanguard that: “That the container is CMA CGM branded does not mean we cleared it into the country.

“Go to Customs for any clarification. They collect duty and clear container at the port; they are in charge of anything coming into the country.”

VANGUARD

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