From: AgroNature Admin
Two Chinese men Lin Piehao, 22, and Li Ruoneng, 27, have been arrested by the police in Lagos for allegedly operating an illegal e-waste factory said to be emitting toxic waste in the community.
The suspects were arrested Monday night at the factory located at 19, Sule Abuka Street, Opebi in Ikeja by a team led by the Commander Area F, Akinsoji Adebayo, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP).
It was gathered that the suspects, whose visas had since expired, usually assembled the e-waste mainly from mobile phones, tablets, which they exported to China and Vietnam through air cargo.
The police team, it was gathered, intercepted several cartons of the toxic materials at the factory that had no name.
“We got a tip-off about their activities and we stormed there and arrested them. We also discovered that the two brains behind the company are staying in Nigeria illegally.
“They came to Lagos in May and they were issued a month visa but they exceeded their stay and are working in Nigeria illegally.
“We will investigate to know the sources of the gadgets they pieces here. Also, we will investigate how they came about such a harmful business in this area. What they are doing here could cause serious health issues for other residents,” said a police source.
E-waste also contributes to environmental degradation with negative effects on human health, such as inflammation and oxidative stress- precursors to cardiovascular disease, DNA damage and possibly cancer, research had shown.
Asked the source of the phones parts, Piehao said they usually bought panels from technicians and scrap sellers.
“We buy phone panels (Android and Nokia panels). We buy them from phone repairers and scrap sellers. We remove the panel I.C. with machine and then ship it to China and Vietnam.
“We have some Nigerian casual workers in our factory but we give them the rules and urge them to be discrete before they join us.
“We actually came into Nigeria with one month visa to explore the country and study to know the business we can do, but our boss in China urged us to open the factory and we have been enjoying Nigeria and did not want to go back despite the expiration of our visa.
“I do not have work permit. I know it is a crime to work without work permit, but the e-waste business is very lucrative. We do a lot to ensure that the smoke from the e-waste does not affect the environment where we operate,” he said.
Confirming the arrest, spokesman Bala Elkana, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) said the two suspects were in custody.
He said: “We have two of them in custody, operating illegal factory, emitting toxic substances in the neighborhood.”