Controversy Trails FCTA Over Demolition Of Carmelo Strip Club

Metro

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, on Monday demolished Carmelo Lounge in the Utako area of Abuja.

The demolition came barely three weeks after FCTA officials arrested 32 alleged strippers at Carmelo.

It was learnt that the FCTA officials came to the compound located on Plot 630 T.O.S Benson Crescent as early as 6.30am and pulled down the buildings and staff quarters.

Our Correspondent, who visited the demolition site, observed that the occupants were only able to salvage drinks, music equipment, air conditioners, beds and personal belongings.

It was learnt that the FCTA authorities posted a notice of demolition on Friday night after courts had closed; and had demolished the building on Monday morning before any court had opened, thereby making it impossible for anyone to stop the demolition.

The Managing Director of the lounge, Mr. Max Eze, told our Correspondent that he was given only 48 hours’ notice instead of the regular 21-day notice which the FCTA usually gives.

The Carmelo boss presented a document showing the notice of demolition issued by the FCDA with number 001403.

He drew the attention of this reporter to the part of the document where the 21-day notice was crossed out and replaced with 48 hours written in blue ink.

The notice reads in part, “The authority observed with dismay that the development or structure on Plot 630 is defective and constitutes danger or nuisance to the public/adjoining plot.

“Take notice that you are given 21 days 48 hours to comply by pulling down the structure or have the illegal development demolished in accordance with Section 61 of the Nigeria Urban and Regional Planning Act 1992.”

Eze lamented that it was unfortunate that at a time when the nation was undergoing unemployment crisis, the government could render 150 of his employees jobless.

He said he had been running the lounge for over seven years and had usually paid all manner of taxes without defaulting.

The Carmelo boss said he had lost N500m to the demolition and wondered how he would survive the damage done to his business.

Eze denied allegations that his business was promoting prostitution, even as he noted that the lounge could not stop anybody from having fun.

He said even in the most prestigious hotels, people had the right to do whatever they wanted to do as adults.

It will be recalled that the FCTA had come under intense criticisms two weeks ago when it embarked on the random raiding of fun spots in the city, arresting over 70 women accused of being sex workers.

Many of them were subsequently charged and convicted.

The women claimed to have been molested and raped by policemen, which caused the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to set up a panel to investigate the incident.

The National Human Rights Commission also invited policemen and officials of the FCTA over allegations of rape and extortion.

Global rights group, Amnesty International, had also lambasted the government and the Police for what it called “arbitrary arrests.”

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