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Abuja board establishes more courts for effective trial of environmental offenders

Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) says it has established 13 extra mobile courts for mass trial of defaulters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Mohammed Bello
FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello

Mr Braimah Osilama, Director of the board, said this in a statement signed by the Deputy Director of the AEPB, Mrs Janet Peni, on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Abuja.

Osilama said that the mobile courts were initially eight in number but have been increased to 13, adding that the essence of the establishment of the courts was to enhance the trail of any defaulter as another round of mass trial of defaulters of waste service charges commenced in the various mobile courts established.

“The need to deal with several cases in a relatively shorter period of time has prompted the increase in the number of the mobile courts from eight to 13, as approved by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mr Olusade Adesola, to enable us deal with more cases at every given time,’’ he said.

Osilama said that apart from revenue drive, they are using the mobile courts to deal with all forms of environmental violations.

“Residences and individuals without waste bins or the required waste bin type or size will be charged to court. We cannot keep the city clean without appropriate containerisation of wastes,’’ he said.

Osilama highlighted other environmental violations as failure to construct required toilet, damaged toilets, and connection of storm water to the street.

He said that such situations that violate environmental laws are also being addressed by the board, especially noise pollution.

The director, who decried high increase of noise pollution in the FCT, said that the board had received numerous complaints from residents who can no longer bear the noise.

“We have received numerous complaints from various residents who cannot sleep in their houses because of noise emanating from parks, gardens and night clubs.

“Night club owners have been told to sound proof their buildings, as those who violate the acceptable decibels required in the city will be charged to court,’’ he warned.

Osilama said that the courts are the available alternatives designed to recover revenue for services being rendered by the board.

He called on the residents to always pay their utility bills to avoid unnecessary embarrassment, adding that the board is committed to prosecute any offender.

He noted that the permanent secretary has been having a series of meetings with some software companies with the aim of developing appropriate billing software and to handle comprehensive enumeration of property in the territory.

“Hopefully, before the end of this year, most of the gaps such as inaccurate billing, double billing and payments not reflecting, will be plugged.

“That is when we have the required software to handle the situation,” he said.

The statement also quoted the Head, Legal Unit of AEPB, Mrs Cecilia Makoji, as saying that, in the ongoing court sitting so far, about 3,900 summonses have been served.

“Of this number, about 1,200 full payments have been made so far, and 1,100 part payments made, while about 1,600 seal up orders have been given,” she said.

By Vivian Emoni

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