Nigeria

Four arrested, as more toxic waste uncovered in Ikorodu scrap yard

The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) on Friday held a joint follow-up inspection at the sealed Ikorodu scrap yard and stumbled on more toxic substances.

Four persons were also arrested for tampering with evidence.

During the investigative visit to the illegal scrap yard, LASEPA officials discovered an unlawful storage housing large volumes of hazardous chemicals, used medical consumables, electronic and electrical equipment waste recycling plant within a residential area and without relevant state permits or environmental controls.

The joint team promptly halted all activities on the site and arrested four persons, two of whom were previously stationed as security men at the yard.

The men had attempted to destroy previously established evidence by gaining access to the sealed site illegally (over the fence) and attempting to destroy evidence by arson.

The Facility Manager, FC Afara, and Alhaji Kolawole Hamzat, the alleged owner of the expired drugs (paracetamol, ginseng multivitamin cleansers) were taken into custody by NAFDAC for further questioning.

The joint operation had Mrs. Adedayo Adedayo, Director E-waste (LASEPA) and Mr Ado Kabiri, Principal Regulatory Officer, NAFDAC as team heads respectively.

The teams also discovered two scrap yards and three 40-feet containers, with two containing used medical consumables, while the other contained metal and E-waste materials.

Reacting to the incident, the General Manager LASEPA, Dr Dolapo Fasawe, described the exercise as a purposeful collaboration between sister agencies and commended the investigative team for exhibiting a high level of professionalism in the management of the case.

She said, “The two agencies involved are both saddled with the responsibilities of safeguarding public health and promoting quality of life in a sustainable environment.

“These activities affect all of us. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, and eat food from the same soil. If these activities go on unchecked, the state will be in a huge environmental and food safety crisis.

Fasawe said the aim of the exercise was not to victimize or hamper any business activities.

He warned other illegal operators in and around the residential area.

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