Police in Lagos State has arrested two Chinese nationals, Lin Piehao, 22 and Li Ruoneng, 27, for allegedly operating a factory where e-waste was illegally assembled and exported to China and Vietnam.
A very competent police source who confirmed the arrest to journalists on Tuesday in Lagos, said operatives from Area “F” Command, Ikeja, uncovered the factory through intelligence reports.
It was gathered that the visas of the two suspects had since expired but they had continued to stay in the country unperturbed.
The source revealed that operatives stormed the Ikeja factory which had no signboard and arrested the suspects.
According to the source, several cartons of e-waste already packaged and billed to be exported to China and Vietnam through air cargo were recovered.
“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 one-month visa permit, but they exceeded their stay and started working in Nigeria illegally,” the police source said.
The police source quoted one of the suspects, Lin as confessing to the crime saying, “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 them to China and Vietnam.
We have some Nigerian casual workers in our factory but we give them the rules and urge them to be discreet before they join us.
We actually came into Nigeria with one month visa to explore the country and study the business we can do, but our boss in China urged us to open the factory and we have been enjoying Nigeria.
We did not want to go back despite the expiration of our visa. I don’t have 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 doesn’t affect the environment where we operate.”
Meanwhile, police authorities have vowed to arraign the suspects in court to serve as a deterrent to other foreigners who embark on illegalities unhindered.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that research has revealed that e-waste is injurious to human life and damages the environment.