• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Lounge, club owners protest EFCC invasion in Ondo

We ‘ll not betray you, EFCC assures whistle-blowers

Members of the Ondo State Lounge and Club Owners Association (OSLACOA), have kicked against the invasion of their business premises in Akure, the state capital by the men of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

The operatives of the EFCC, at the weekend, stormed the popular Alba Royale Club and Signatures Elixir, located at Seebi axis, along Akure/Ilesha expressway and Alagbaka area of Akure, raiding the fun-seekers.

While some youth, in the state on Monday protested over the sting operation of the EFCC, saying the raid by the anti-graft agency was in defiance of its ban on night operation.

Abayomi Ajepe, the chairman of the Ondo State Lounge and Club Owners Association (OSLACOA), while addressing journalists on the incident said the plan of the anti-graft to raid their clubs and lounge was to cripple their businesses and ruin nightlife in Akure, the state capital, and other parts of the state.

Ajepe said; “we never expected what we experienced on Saturday, because Akure is a very peaceful community, we are not too happy, the incident happened around 1:45am on Saturday morning and personally I drove to the scene to witnessed what was going on and on getting there it was barbaric so I have to turn back because I don’t want to get hurt.

“I was on phone, making calls to authorities but it was later we discovered that these people came from Ibadan EFCC because initially we think they were armed robbers. So we are telling the whole world that we are not too happy with what happened.

“They took away the cameras, phones, CCTVs, along with about 127 people and some of them were still there. So why they are denying their operations here in Akure. We want government to check-mate this unacceptable attitude on our community, government needs to come to our aides.

“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; “at about 1:30am on Saturday June 8, 2024, the men of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) came into our premises. They were about 40 of them 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 lle 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.

“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 3 Laptops belonging to our Dis were taken from the DJs 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.

“We wish to make very clear that no one reserved our premises for any kind of party as we are just a business entity carrying out the business we duly register with the government of Nigeria to do. All over the world people set aside weekends to unwind and this is exactly what was happening in our business premises.

“Finally, we wish to apologize to all our customers who witnessed this unfortunate incident and promise to lawfully engage all relevant authorities to prevent such incident from reoccurring. This incident will not deter us from serving you better.”

Ayo Alabi, the Chairman/CEO of Alba Royale Hotel said the anti-graft agency took away expensive drinks from their bar, destroyed the CCTV cameras, and brutalized customers who came to enjoy their weekend in their lounges.

Alabi said; “as usual on Friday night we use to have clubbing activities in my hotel, and we have responsible people that use to come there to wine. At about 1:30am my phone rang as usual because I don’t normally switched off my and it was one of my security men that called me saying that it appears robbers have invaded the hotel.

“Immediately, I called the AIG of this zone to complain and the man said he never knew anything about it and later one of my staff sneaked out and gave me the comprehensive report on what really happened. Meanwhile, I was watching it through the CCTV camera on my phone and when it was exactly one-hour, the CCTV camera went off.

“I went there in the morning and I saw the massive damage, I was told that all the guests were seriously dealt with, they took away our CCTV engine, they never invited us, we never had any issues with them and we have evidences on how they carried out the operations.”