By SundiataPOST, Abuja
A Mobile Court on Saturday ordered 52 houses in Gwarimpa, Abuja, to be sealed up for the refusal of the residents to appear before the court to answer charges for environmental offences.
The Magistrate, Mr Jubril Kutugi, said the refusal amounted to contempt of court, adding that the order was with immediate effect.
Kutugi said only 10 out of the 70 occupants who were summoned appeared before the court.
The Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) had served residents of Adkan Estate in Gwarimpa with abatement notices for their failure to remediate environmental nuisance.
The AEPB Prosecutor, Mrs Lola Balogun, said the Gwarimpa residents were charged with lack of dustbins which had caused unauthorised dumping of refuse within the estate.
Balogun said their offences contravened section 17 (1) G and 35 A of AEPB Act. of 1997 punishable under section 17 (2) and 35 of the same Act.
Also, another court prosecuted 160 offenders for violation of environmental laws at Limpopo Street in Maitama.
The Magistrate, Mr Aminu Abdullahi, said the court would not spare anyone who violated the laws and pleading ignorance. “Ignorance of the law is not an excuse before the law.’’
The prosecutor, Mr Eze Eze, said their offences ranged from over grown grasses, lack of waste bins, unauthorised dumping of construction wastes/refuse, to keeping dirty environment.
Eze said the offences contravened section 17, 29, 35 and sub-section 19b of the AEPB Act 1997.
Mr Uche Agbanusi, Deputy Director, Environmental Health and Safety, AEPB, said the board would continue to invite mobile courts on weekly basis to address environmental nuisance.
Agbanusi said the impact of mobile court in the campaign against keeping unhealthy environment in the FCT was commendable.
He berated residents who refused to buy waste bins.
“It is worrisome that a lot of people do not buy waste bins. Indiscriminate dumping of wastes causes health problems. That is why we are doing everything possible to keep a clean and disease free city.’’
Mr Hassan Ado, a resident of Gwarimpa, commended the board for taking these measures to enforce environmental laws.
According to him, “we are reluctant over sanitation because serious measures were not taken in the past to punish the offenders.’’
Ado gave the AEPB pass mark for its performance and urged the board to prevail on the contractors to be evacuating wastes without delay.