The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, (NESREA), has sealed off Pure Bio-Tech Company Limited, an ethanol production facility along Gboko Road, Makurdi.
Mrs Amaka Ejiofor, Assistant Director, (Press), NESREA, made this known in a statement on Tuesday, in Abuja.
Ejiofor said that the operation was carried out by a combined team of officials from NESREA and the Benue State Command of the Nigeria Police Force.
She explained that the company was sealed-off for discharging untreated effluent into water, thereby polluting the environment and endangering human lives, as well as flouting extant environmental laws and standards.
According to her, the company, which operates under the chemical and~ pharmaceutical sector, uses cassava as its raw material.
She further explained that the production of Ethanol using cassava was a wet process that required the installation of a functional Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP).
Ejiofor therefore, noted that the installation of an ETP, would ensure that waste from the plant was well treated before being discharged into the environment.
Ejiofor said that the non-availability of the ETP was a clear violation of the provisions of the National Environmental (Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Soap and Detergent Manufacturing Industries) Regulations 2009 S.I No.36.
She said lack of the ETP was also a violation of National Environmental (Sanitation and Waste Control) Regulations 2009 S.I No.28.
Ejiofor said that the Facility Consultant (NESREA Accredited), had last month carried out an Environmental Compliance Monitoring (ECM).
She said that the report of the Effluent analysed by the consultant was submitted to the NESREA Field Office Makurdi on April 16, 2023.
According to her, the report revealed that most of the parameters analysed from the Effluent were above NESREA permissible level, as provided under the National Environmental (Sanitation and Waste Control) Regulations 2009 S.I N0.28.
“The facility had earlier been issued notices of compliance concerns to halt production until a functional ETP is fully installed, but it failed to comply.
“NESREA moved in to avoid further endangering of lives of residents who use water from the river for their basic household needs.
“This is in conformity with the provisions of the NESREA Act 2007 (as Amended), which allows the Agency to carry out such enforcement activity when necessary, to halt an action posing imminent danger to human life, animals and the environment.”
The NESREA spokesperson added that the facility was also found to be operating without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and did not complete the process of conducting EIA before commencement of operations.
Ejiofor said this contravened the EIA Act CAP. E12 of LFN, 2004.
“Also, the Facility operates without relevant Environmental Permits, contrary to the National Environmental (Permitting and Licensing System) Regulations 2009 S.I N0.29.
“The facility, therefore, remains sealed while investigations continue. At the conclusion of investigations, the appropriate sanctions will be meted out on the company,” Ejiofor said.
The Director General of NESREA, Prof Aliyu Jauro, reminded such companies that compliance with laid down environmental laws was a “Must”.
Jauro said that the Agency was determined to ensure that non-compliant facilities were made to face the full wrath of the law.