Police Uncover Chinese Toxic e-waste Factory in Lagos


Chiemelie Ezeobi

Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command (Area F) yesterday uncovered a factory in Ikeja where e-wastes are assembled and exported to China and Vietnam.

The detectives also arrested two persons allegedly behind the e-waste company- 22-year-old Lin Piehao and Li Ruoneng, 27.

It was gathered that despite the fact that the visas of the two suspects had since expired, they continued to stay in the country unperturbed.

The Area F police operatives stormed No 19 Sule Abuka Street, Opebi, Ikeja, the location of the factory, which had no signboard, and arrested the suspects with several cartons of the e-wastes already billed to be exported to China and Vietnam through air cargo.

According to the police, “We got a tip-off about their activities; 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 one month visa but they exceeded their stay, and are working in Nigeria illegally.”

One of the suspects, Lin, said: “We buy phone panels (Android and Nokia panels) from phone repairers and scrap sellers. We remove the panel IC with machine and then ship it to China and Vietnam.

“We have some Nigerian casual workers in our factory but we gave them the rules and urged them to be discrete before joining us.

“We actually came to Nigeria with one month visa to explore the country and also study the kind of business we can do, but our boss in China urged us to open the factory, and we have been enjoying Nigeria since, and did not want to go back despite the expiration of our visa.

“I don’t have any work permit. I know it is a crime to work without a work permit, but the e-waste business is very lucrative. We do a lot to ensure that the smoke from the e-waste didn’t affect the environment where we operate.”

Meanwhile, the police authorities have vowed to arraign them in court to serve as deterrent to other foreigners who embark on illegalities in the country unhindered.

According to the police, it is imperative that the law takes it course because e-wastes are injurious to human beings.

In addition to its damaging effect on the environment and its illegal nature, police said researchers have now linked e-waste to adverse effects on human health, such as inflammation and oxidative stress-precursors to cardiovascular disease, DNA damage and possibly cancer.