The National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) has sent 15 vessels carrying hazardous materials into Nigeria back to their countries of origin.
Its Director-General, Prof. Aliyu Jauro, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday that the vessels were laden with chemicals and electronics harmful to the environment.
He cautioned that government would not allow any importer to turn Nigeria into a dumping ground for hazardous materials.
“It is allowed to import electronics into Nigeria, but such electronics must be functional and safe.
“Nigeria is not a dumping ground where any waste can be allowed in.
“Most of the items arriving in Nigeria are not good and don’t function well; so only those that are functional and are safe are allowed to be discharged.
“People are able to bring hazardous items into Nigeria because the country’s borders are porous.
“As an agency, we test imported equipment to ensure that they are working perfectly and they are safe for the ecosystem,’’ he said.
Jauro said particularly disturbing was the importation of used refrigerants and chemicals used in refrigeration that should not be allowed into any society because of their risk levels.
He said that some of the chemicals were found to react and deplete the ozone layer, the protective layer that shields the earth from radiation emitted by the sun.
“The use of chlorofluorocarbons in refrigerants and some other chemicals used as fire extinguishers are responsible for global warming. “Also, some pesticides used in agriculture deplete the ozone layer and have a lot of negative effects on humans and on the ecosystem,’’ Jauro stressed.