By Amos Aar
PURE BioTech Company Ltd situated along the banks of River Benue on Makurdi-Gboko Road which produces ethanol has continued to operate in defiance of orders by the Benue State Government and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) shutting its operations following alleged health hazards resulting from environmental pollution of the host community.
National Record observed on Monday, April 23, 2023 that the company was still in full operation as many trucks were seen supplying the plant cassava, the raw material for the production of ethanol.
Tersoo Samson Akula, Chairman, Board of Trustee (BOT), Benue Hike Tourism & Conservation Foundation in a statement on Monday alleged that trucks do come into the BioTech company between 11pm and 12 midnight to offload cassava.
Akula also noted that trucks which supply diesel to the factory to power its plants freely enter and exit the premises of the company through the “personnel only” gate.
Akula disclosed that his foundation has reported the disregard of the orders to NESREA but the agency has so far failed to act.
“We will tender this evidence before the committee on Tuesday when it resumes sitting, but let the public know that NESREA was not serious about the shutdown but was merely playing to the gallery.
“How can a plant that has clearly violated the implementation of something as sensitive as the EIA, indicted by NESREA itself, be sealed yet no monitoring to ensure compliance?
“Even now as I write this, take a walk to and see for yourself. We are discovering more act of pollution perpetuated by the company yet being totally ignored by this same NESREA.
“We call for the removal of the head of the agency in Benue as we have lost confidence in their ability to protect our people and environment. We will petition the head of NESREA in Benue and copy relevant authorities,” the statement read partly.
National Record contacted the Benue State Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Mike Inalegwu, on Monday to know the state government’s next line of action but he was yet to reply to the WhatsApp chat as at the time of going to press.
Inalegwu told newsmen about a week ago that the state government had ordered the closure of the Pure Biotech Company Ltd pending when all issues including water pollution and empowerment of indigenes raised by residents will be resolved.