Sunday, 25th September 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Akwa Ibom sues Chinese company for allegedly attacking officials, seizing government’s cars

By Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh, Uyo
27 July 2022   |   2:44 am
Akwa Ibom State Government has sued the management of Golden Tripod International Limited, a Chinese company operating in the state, for not observing environmental standards.

[FILES] Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom. Photo/Twitter/MrUdomEmmanuel

Akwa Ibom State Government has sued the management of Golden Tripod International Limited, a Chinese company operating in the state, for not observing environmental standards.

The Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Charles Udoh, disclosed this while explaining to newsmen why the government had to go to court.

Besides the company’s failure to operate according to rules, the Commissioner alleged that its management prevented government officials from carrying out their duties, attacked them and seized government vehicles.

According to him, the company, which has been operating illegally in the state, must have to produce valid documents such as a work permit, tax clearance and approved waste management plans designed in collaboration with the state Ministry of Environment.

The commissioner recalled that the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Environment and State Waste Management Agency, had, a fortnight ago, visited the company and subsequently ordered that activities of the company be brought to a halt.

While explaining the encounter to newsmen, he said the Ministry and House of Assembly, in response to public outcry, had made attempts to visit or invite the company for questioning, both of which were rebuffed.

“Residents of the environment sent a petition to us and I sent our environmental health workers to verify, they went there and were denied access. Next, we gave them abatement notice and all efforts fell on deaf ears.

“Also, Chairman, House of Assembly Committee on Environment invited the company, they snubbed and rather got a lawyer to reply. The House wrote a second time, but the company, again, got a lawyer to write back. At that point, we had to go, to the company of waste management agency, as a joint team.

“We arrived there, I introduced myself and the men locked the gate on us. At that point, we had to force ourselves in and what we saw was shocking. First, the guys working there, their safety is highly threatened, they are producing brake pads for tricycles and okada, using aluminium.

He added: “These guys are smelting aluminium with no personal protective equipment and at the same time emitting soot and liquid waste into the environment.

“I asked to see the operators, first they dragged their feet and thereafter, two Chinese came out and I asked for their Environmental Impact Assessment and waste management plan, they had none. Next thing, they ordered the guys to start throwing stones at us.

“When it became so tensed, the driver of the Chairman, House Committee on Environment abandoned his car and ran away, they locked the car in and refused to release it.”

According to him, the matter was reported to the governor, who ordered that the case be taken up, leading to the arrest of the operators of the company and the institution of a legal case against them.

“Yes they employ people, but they are killing those guys for letting them work without personal protective equipment, and at the same time polluting the environment,” he stressed.

In this article