The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), on Wednesday sealed off three factories in Ondo State, for illegal operations and violations of environmental laws of Nigeria.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Ore, shortly after after the operation, Mr Kolawole Joshua, Head, Conservation Managing Division, NESREA, said that owners of the facilities would soon be charged to court as a deterrent to other defaulting companies.
The sealed facilities were Cocoa Products Limited, Ile Oluji, Hightech Construction Company, Ore and JHX Company, Nigeria Limited, also in Ore.
NAN reports that NESREA is saddled with the responsibility of enforcing all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations, to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for Nigerians.
The agency also has 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 pointed out that NESREA took the decision to seal-off the companies as a last resort, after every effort to dialogue with them failed; and they refused to respond 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.
“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,” Joshua said.
According to him, activities of the three sealed companies are not regulated, and they have not adopted the extant rules in their operations.
He said: “They do not audit their activities, they operate indiscriminately, neither are they licensed to do what they do.
“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.” (NAN)