• As FCTA disperses operators, fun seekers at Abuja Parks, Night Clubs
‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
DAILY COURIER – Residents and fun seekers in the federal capital territory FCT, expressed mixed feelings regarding Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Park Policy that mandates all bars, and recreational parks to close by 7-pm.
While some hailed the policy, believing that it will go a long way to curb the increasing crime rate, others disapproved of it on the grounds of its negative economic implications.
Dr Mike Alo, applauded the FCT administration for the policy noting that many of the fun and supposed recreation centers had become breeding ground for robbery, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the nation’s capital.
A businessman, Engr David Oyi, said that he had long expected the policy, given the spate of criminal activities that have skyrocketed in most of these spots in different parts of the city.
Oyi said: “Most criminals and kidnappers hide under the guise of relaxation to profile and execute their henious crimes under the cover of the night.”
A teacher, Mrs Agnes, said that a lot of broken and strained marriages where the breadwinners hide under leisure will be restored due to the 7-pm policy and children who barely see their dads would be better for it.
However, those who are opposed to the idea, urged the government to jettison the plan because of its dire consequences on both micro and macro economics basis.
An economics, Mr Usman Tanko feared that the policy would impact negatively on the fortunes of the hospitality sector which is a major internal revenue earner for the federal capital administration.
“There is already a high rate of unemployment in the country, so deep in the earnings of these businesses would worsen the situation.
“This will also worsen crime and criminality that the policy intends to checkmate.”
The proprietor of Sun city club in Kubwa told our Correspondent that since the commencement of the new policy, the club has experienced low patronage and if things continue he may no option but to lay off workers.
The FCTA is not buckling down on its threat to ensure strict compliance with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Park Policy, the FCT Administration. On Saturday night, it raided Parks and Night Clubs in the nation’s capital city.
Operators of Parks and Night Clubs including fun seekers in the Wuse and Maitama Districts were dispersed for violating the 7-pm closing hour for recreational parks.
The FCTA enforcers, which included members of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), the Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), the Department of Parks and Recreation, and Development Control, among others, were accompanied by a joint team of armed policemen and other paramilitary personnel, to storm the parks at around 8pm and ordered the immediate closure and vacation of everyone present there at the time of the enforcement.
It was observed that as the enforcers were ransacking the parks and clearing the streets of cars parked along the road, night fun seekers in their hundreds were seen leaving in exotic cars, with some standing in clusters outside the premises of the affected parks.
Most affected were fun seekers, who had thronged the SMIRNOFF Hang Outs at PAPIEE’S Metro Recreation Center, inside a hitherto Children’s Park, which was purportedly converted into a hub for Restaurant and Bar, as well as a night club within Lungi crescent, off Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja.
Speaking during the exercise, the coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Umar Shaibu, said Park operators must ensure that they respect the city regulations and rights of other members of the nation’s capital city.
He described as disheartening a situation that park operators are operating their businesses and getting money daily at the expense of the peace and serenity of others within the neighborhoods.
Shaibu, however, reiterated that the FCTA enforcers were going to comb every part of the city to make sure that park operators and patrons comply with the policy and the residents have peace of mind at night.
“We are enforcing our Park policy, and we have regulation of closing time of 7pm daily, which all Parks must close. We do not want to trample on people’s rights, but you should know that your right ends when your neighbour’s right is infringed upon.
“So, we must not be selfish. We are here to enforce our regulation of closing time of 7pm, and to make sure that we give the neighbourhoods where Parks are situated peace to enjoy their rest every night. If any developer or park operator is proven to be recalcitrant, we have the power to seal up and even revoke the plot.
“According to the regulations, whenever you are given allocation, there are laid down rules and regulations. But when you are not complying with the rules and regulations, we have the power to revoke the building approval and even the allocation,” he stated.