In a rather interesting development, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) took port stakeholders on a wild goose chase on Thursday, as it pursued into the Tin Can Island port, two 40-footer containers, which it claimed brought toxic wastes into the country. The containers had come aboard the vessel MV Marivia.
Therefore, flanked by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other relevant agencies, the representatives of the agency swooped on the two containers, only to find it contained used television sets.
According to an official of the NPA, “The ship manifest said the containers came with used television. They have checked it. All they found were used televisions. They are, however, yet to tell us their criteria for classifying toxic wastes.” The official further disclosed that the agency had finally taken a new decision to conduct more checks on the television sets, so as to identify if they were not working, so as to return them all, through the same ship that brought them.
However, while the NESREA did everything to keep information about their goof secret, the fact that the customs had to keep its men on standby so as to foreclose the possibility of the ship escaping made this impossible. Meanwhile, speaking later on the issue, the Tin Can Island Port Customs Area Controller, Comptroller O. Aremu, maintained that the whole gesture was a NESREA affair: “This is totally a NESREA affair. The only area where it concerns us is in the fact that our men must accompany them to inspect the containers,” he said, adding that the penalty to be administered on the vessel that brought the containers would also be made by the agency.