Officials of the Lagos state police command have arrested two Chinese nationals, Lin Piehao, 22, and Li Ruoneng, 27, for allegedly operating an illegal e-waste factory in the Ikeja area of the state.
E-waste 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.
Spokesperson of the state police command, Bala Elkana, who confirmed their arrest, stated that the Chinese nationals whose visas to Nigeria have since expired, were arrested on Monday night, August 5th at their illegal 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).
One of the police officers who participated in the arrest of the Chinese nationals, said
“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.
When interrogated, one of the arrested Chinese nationals, 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