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Hotel, Lounge Owners Protest EFCC’s Invasion of Night Clubs in Akure 

“Initially, we thought they were armed robbers…,” a night club owner said regarding the EFCC raid in Akure.

Owners of night clubs and hotels affected by the raid carried out by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have protested the alleged invasion and destruction of their  properties by the agency.

The EFCC had stated that its operatives, acting on intelligence reports, stormed the outlets on Saturday morning to effect the arrest of 127 people allegedly holding ‘Yahoo Parties’ and those who had been on the radar of the Commission. 

Notably, among those detained was a soon-to-be groom who was celebrating his Bachelor’s eve with friends at one of the targeted clubs.

However, Ondo State Lounge and Club Owners Association (OSLACOA) at a press conference held in Akure on Monday gave an accounts of how their facilities were vandalised by the officers of the anti-graft agency.

The Chairman, Ondo State Lounge and Club Owners Association, Abayomi Ajipe expressed the displeasure of the association and faulted the approach adopted by EFCC, describing it as barbaric and unlawful.

His words: “We never expected what we experienced on Saturday, because Akure is a very peaceful community. We are not happy.

“Initially, we thought they were armed robbers until I made calls to authorities, I was  told they came from Ibadan. It is quite unfortunate that they took away the cameras, phones, CCTVs, along with about 127 people. We want government to check-mate this unacceptable attitude in our community, government needs to come to our aide.

“We are still consulting our lawyers, either to take legal actions on the issues and since the incident happened, no business again.”

Ayo Abass Akinwande, who spoke on behalf of the Signatures Elixir,  said both male and female customers were dealt with mercilessly during the raid.

“They were about 40 in number and they came with about 10 unregistered Toyota buses. The only thing that could be used to identify them was their red jackets and the guns. The introduction they gave to the security men at our gate who couldn’t identify them immediately was beatings and some of them sustained injuries in the process.

“After gaining access into our premises they rounded everybody up and instructed them to  lie-down on the floor, using snooker sticks to beat people to comply. Both male and female customers were dealt with mercilessly. Other members of their team went into the club and rounded everyone up and releasing tear-gas in the process. 

“We were lucky to have adequate first aid materials in the premises that were used by our staffs to rescue some of the customers that had various forms of medical emergencies. While they identify some of our staffs and allowed them to go, others were still beaten after identification. The CCTV engine room was completely turned upside down and the CCTV engine was taken away.”

He alleged that “the Ondo state chairman of medical association was in the premises and was maltreated even after identifying himself. An international footballer known as Tiger who played for super eagles identified himself with video evidence as a footballer, he was arrested and only took the serious intervention of men at the gate before he was released. 

“Yet, they took away his white colour G-wagon with customized number plate “Tiger” to Ibadan and told him to come and collect it in Ibadan. This vehicle is still with them as we speak. Lots of phones where confiscated from people and they asked the owners to come and collect them at Ibadan. Three Laptops belonging to our DJs were taken even with the DJ stickers on the laptops. A lot of damages were done to our premises and a huge loss was recorded during the period of the raid.”

Also, Ayo Alabi, the Chairman/CEO of Alba Royale Hotel said the hotels and lounges are just business entities carrying out business activities and duly register with the government of Nigeria to do so. 

“All over the world, people set aside weekends to unwind and this is exactly what was happening in our business premises”, he added.

Fidelis David in Akure

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