No fewer than 160 facilities across the country have been sealed from 2019 to date for violating environmental rules and regulations, said the National Environmental Standards Regulatory Agency (NESREA).
Director-General of the agency, Professor Aliyu Jauro, disclosed this in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.
Mr Jauro said that the facilities were initially served notices of compliance concerns, in line with legal provisions but failed to decrease their infractions against the environment.
He said the facilities also failed to comply with the extant environmental laws.
NESREA is the leading environmental enforcement agency of the federal government, saddled with the responsibility of enforcing all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations in the country.
NESREA prohibits processes and equipment or technology that undermine environmental quality and enforces compliance with provisions of all International Environmental Agreements, Protocols, Conventions and Treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“When I assumed office in 2019, I discovered that the agency did not have any enforcement action for about four years, even though there were many breaches.
“One of my major achievements was to resume enforcement activities, and from 2019 to date, we have sealed 160 facilities that violated environmental rules and regulations.
“When we came on board in 2019, there was COVID-19 which spanned almost two years, yet we were able to achieve a lot,” Mr Jauro said.
He said that the agency had, since 2019, also intensified its compliance monitoring activities.
The director-general said it had over 10,000 compliance monitors nationwide, which was far more than what the agency had done four years before he assumed office.
According to him, the agency has 38 cases pending due to delays in court processes.
“We have also automated our system. The certification system and others are now done online. We have what we call NESREA Permitting, Auditing and Management Platform.
“The agency now has an environmental management plan which enhances seamless online documentation. When you are ready, you submit online, and it takes you through all the processes; you do not have to submit a hard copy of any document.
“Through the online processing of documents, we have eliminated the use of papers, thereby saving our trees from being cut down and reducing the cost of chemicals used for producing papers,” he said.
The director-general disclosed that the agency would soon launch its National Environmental Assessment portal to issue environmental import clearance.