Abuja - The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) has shut down the headquarters of Gilmor Nigeria Ltd. Abuja for its refusal to produce its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate.
The NESREA also sealed its main yard located along Kubwa road in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Mr Godwin Atsegwasi, NESREA’s Deputy Director of Environmental Quality Control, who led the enforcement team, said the action became necessary to warn erring companies that the agency would always protect the nation’s environment.
Rationalising the agency's action, Atsegwasi blamed the company for refusing to present its EIA certificate to the agency to determine the impact of its operations on the environment.
He said the companies, which refused to comply with the EIA should be ready for a head-on collision with the agency.
He also said that it would ensure that its activities were in conformity with international best practices.
The deputy director, however, confirmed that some companies had started complying with NESREA's directive on the presentation of the EIA certificate.
``The issue of EIA is paramount to the execution of any project in the Nigerian environment as it is the major pre-requisite to the execution of any physical project all over the world.
``Many companies have erred and we are going to take action against them systematically. We started with the telecommunications, followed by quarries and mines and today we are on the constructions companies.
``We are so vehement on these construction companies because their impact on the environment is so adverse that we need to exercise some control over them.
``The activities of these construction companies are causing flood and erosion.
``The Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafia, together with the Director-General of NESREA, Dr Ngeri Benabo, had directed the enforcement of this law to address the environmental degradation.''
Atsegwasi said that the Act enabling the agency to carry out its mandate did not restrict the agency from protecting the environment anywhere in the country.
He said the agency, with 20 offices in the federation, had the capacity to enforce the EIA laws throughout the country.
``We do not need to consult any agency before carrying out our legitimate duty. So long as we are doing our job within the ambit of the law, we feel we are doing the right thing.
``The agency has 20 offices in the country and that made us to have both the administrative and the geographical knowledge of the country to operate anywhere in Nigeria.''
The enforcement team sealed-up the corporate office of the Gilmor Construction Company located at Maitama District, Abuja.
The corporate office is also housing some top management staff of the company.
NAN also reports that the sealing of the main yard of the company left workers stranded as the construction staff were resuming for work.
Efforts to speak to officials of Gilmor did not yield positive result as none of the officials came out to attend to news men.
When contacted, Isa Shuaibu, Director, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), decried incessant sealing of facilities within the FCT by NESREA without due consultations with relevant agencies.
According to Shuaibu, the AEPB equally has the mandate to protect its immediate environment which the board has been handling.
The director, who said the board wanted to avoid an inter-agency conflict, advised NESREA to cultivate the habit of working with other organisations to promote industrial harmony.