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THISDAY ONLINE: FG Places Security Alert on Shell MD, Others

From Funso Muraina in Abuja, 03.27.2007
Toxic Waste

The Federal Government has directed security agencies to place the 21 persons accused of transporting toxic waste allegedly on the directive of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) under security surveillance, pending the commencement of their trial.

Specifically, the Federal Government directed the Police to be vigilant on the accused persons so as to facilitate easy access to them whenever the Police would be asked to produce them in court.

Twenty-seven count charge had been preferred against the 21 accused persons over the alleged illegal dumping of toxic waste, to wit, the movement of Radioactive Source from Port-Harcourt in Rivers state to Warri in Delta state, without authorisation from the appropriate authorities.

The accused persons include; Shell, its Managing Director, Mr. Basil Efoise Omiyi, Western Atlas International Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Taiwo Akinokun, Samuel Ndahbros, Azuka Onianwa, Blessing Nwaogu, Babatunde Oribido, Maxwell Weeksee, Moses Edafe, Joseph Kintum, O and X Nigeria, Julius Joram, ED. Wayles International Services, Oyinbo Afeyebo, Cand E Global Nig. Ltd. Do-Good Philip, Isaac Akpobaro, Efe Oriedajiwhe, Anderson Onw-hakpo and Oruma Johnbull.

The letter on the surveillance was from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and signed by Abdullahi Mikailu, a Chief State Counsel, copied to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, “D” Department of the Nigeria Police Force Headqu-arters, Abuja.

Calling the attention of DCP S.G Balogun, the letter entitled Re: Charge Number: FHC/ABJ/CR/30/2007, FRN VS Western Atlas International Nigeria Limited & 20 others reads: “Above subject matter refers. I am directed to inform you that appropriate charges (copy attached) has been preffered against above mentioned accused persons before Federal High Court Miatama, Abuja.

“You will be further informed as soon as the matter is directed and a date is fixed for hearing”.

In a charge no FHC/ABJ/CR/30/2007, prepared by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, Salihu Aliyu,the 21 accused were alleged to have illegally shipped radio active sources from Port Harcourt in Rivers state to Warri, Delta state.

The suit was placed before the Abuja Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

In a 27 count-charge, the SPDC, two international companies among other accused were accused of violating the Nuclear Safety and Radiation law.

In the charge filed before the court on March 22, the accused are said to have allegedly conspired between September 9 and October 9, 2006 to carry, transport, handle, stored and transfer the radio active sources to an unauthorized person.
The DPP said the accused failed to obtain requisite clearance from the Department of the state Services.

The charge brought against the 21 accused persons in Abuja, stated that Western Atlas among others, transported radioactive sources (namely one neutron source, m – Be with serial No 48474, one density, Cs-137 with serial No 969, one neutron verifier Am-Be with serial No D-311, two density verifier Cs -137 with serial number V- 1008 and v-1031, one Gamma ay-rig, Ra -226 with serial No WA-644) from Port Harcourt to Warri in violation of section 77 of the Nigerian Basic Ionization Radiation regulations 2003 and section 41 of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act 1995.”

The accused, according to the charge, have therefore committed an offence contrary to section 516 of the criminal Code Act Cap 77 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

The FG stated further that the accused contravened section 5(2)(c) of the Nigerian safety and security of radioactive sources regulatory 2006 and therefore punishable under Section 45(1)(a) of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act 1995.

E D Wayles International was accused of handling radio active materials including towing a barge called Emonina 11 containing radio active bunker from SPDC Ogunnu jetty to Perker rig 73 in Warri, Delta State, without valid licence or authorisation from the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority.

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