Naomi Gabriel —
The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), saddled with the responsibility of enforcing all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards, and regulations, to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for Nigerians, yesterday sealed off three factories in Ondo State, for illegal operations and violations of environmental laws of Nigeria.
Speaking in Ore, immediately after the sealing off, Mr Kolawole Joshua, NESREA’s Head, Conservation Managing Division, NESREA, said that owners of the facilities would soon be charged to court as a warning deterrent to other defaulting companies.
Also read: NESREA seals erring industries in Kano
Facilities affected include Cocoa Products Limited, Ile Oluji, Hightech Construction Company, Ore and JHX Company, Nigeria Limited, also in Ore.
NESREA is also saddled with the responsibility of enforcing compliance with provisions of international agreements, protocols, conventions, and treaties on the environment.
Joshua, who emphasised that the agency had been consistent in its sensitisation, compliance monitoring and enforcement over the years, said that NESREA would not relent until its stated goals were achieved.
He added that the agency took the decision to seal-off the companies as a last resort, having seen efforts at dialoguing fail, with victims refusing to heed to several warnings and advisory letters from the agency.
“We, as a body, regulate activities of industries that are into production of goods and services, and experience has shown that most of their activities have negative impact on the society because of their non-compliance with extant laws of environment, Joshua said.
“So, where we see that any of their activities has become a concern to the environment, that is if they are doing something that is injurious to health of citizens, the agency quickly responds by notifying them.
“The law has provided that we notify them for up to three times at considerable intervals, and where the company decides to be recalcitrant or does not want to comply, the agency is left with no choice than to enforce compliance”, he added.
Joshua further expressed that activities of the three sealed companies were not regulated, and they have not adopted the extant rules in their operations.
“They do not audit their activities, they operate indiscriminately, neither are they licensed to do what they do, Joshua continued.
“Now the agency is demanding that they work in compliance with the rules and laws of the land. They have been served several letters, but they refused to yield to the agency ‘s advice, so, we are left with the only option of enforcement.
“As we have sealed off their premises, the agency will be waiting for them to respond positively to the action of the government by trying to do what they have refused to do. But usually, we take such matters to court.
“And where we find out that they have broken the seal, it is a double charge for such a company.”