By Abdulwahab Abdulah, Evelyn Usman and Ifeanyi Okolie
The Lagos State Government has shutÂ four strip night clubs on Opebi/Allen area of Ikeja, Lagos, arresting 33 strip dancers in the process.
The ladies have however been released on bail according to Chairman, Task Force on Environmental and Spacial Offences Monitoring Unit, Mr Bayo Suleiman, whose office effected the raid and arrest. He saidÂ they have been charged to court.
Justifying his officeâ€™s action of arresting the ladies, Suleiman, a Superintendent of Police (SP) said the strip clubs were unregistered and unregulated. Aside that, he added that it constituted a social nuisance in the state, adding that the arrest was also necessitated following public outcry.
On whether it was the right of the Task ForceÂ to effect such arrest, he asked, â€œ who is supposed to carry out such action? Is it the regular police or any other government security agency? As our name implies, Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences, this is part of the special offences and it behoves on us to sanitise the stateâ€, adding that hoodlums also use the clubs as haven for perpetrating their nefarious activities.
Officials of the task force, as gathered, visited the clubs which are all located on Allen Avenue, Ikeja disguising as fun seekers, last Friday. Next day, while the ladies were entertaining their patrons, the officials went into action, arresting a total of 33 of them in their nude, from the affected clubs.
Two managers were also arrested. The affected clubs include-Club Unique, formerly known as Number 10 Bar, Wall street , Cazzbah and Magic City, formerly known as Ocean Blue.
It could be recalled that Club Unique located on Ogundana street off Allen Avenue was shut last year on the orders of the state government. The clamp down on the club which was raided by officials of the Lagos State Environmental Offences and Enforcement Unit, resulted, after matters reportedly assumed a dirty dimension during a raunchy performance by the stark naked ladies.
When contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba claimed he was oblivious of the arrest.
Meanwhile human rights lawyers and the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Olubunmi OkogieÂ have reacted to the action of the ladies and their arrest by the security operatives. They all described the action as public immorality.
According to Bamidele Aturu and Wahab Shitu, the ladiesâ€™ action parading nude in the clubs â€œconstitute societal nuisance and public corruption.â€
Mr Aturu, a lawyer and social crusader said, â€œunder the criminal procedure laws, the police have an unfettered rights to arrest the ladies, if their actions and attitudes constituted public disturbance which can lead to public disorder and disaffection. If their dressing, action or inaction can lead to public crisis or translate into public immorality, the police can effect their arrest.
â€œHowever, they (the ladeis) also have rights to implement their fundamental human rights to fair hearing against any offences preferred against them by the authiority.â€
Another lawyer, Mr Wahab Shitu, who also is a university Don, said; â€œ What the ladies did was as a result of the society problems. They were guilty of an offence by committing public corruption under the law, especially when their action constitutes public immorality and nuisance.
â€œCorruption in Latin words means a breakdown of a system. If there is a breakdown in the system as a result of their action, they have committed an offence. So, by their action they are guilty of social corruption, since the law enforcement agents found out that their action constitutes a breakdown in the system, a break down of moral, social and societal values. Their action symbolizes the break down in the moral and societal values.
â€œThe most important thing now is whether the action constitute criminality under the law or an offence punishable is another issue entirely.â€
The Achbishop in his viewÂ expressed grave concern about the night clubs activitiesÂ in Lagos state. He stressed that young girls stripped themselves nakedÂ for men to watch or have sex with them on stageÂ for a fee of betweenÂ N15,000 and N20,000.
The Cardinal who made a comment on the issue at a dedication ceremony ofÂ the St Augustineâ€™s Catholic Church, Iba called on the Lagos State Government to take urgent steps in riding the state off theÂ menace that isÂ underminingÂ theÂ lives ofÂ young girls and womenÂ in the state.
According to the Cardinal: â€œThe human body is the temple of God and if anybody wants to destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him because the temple of God is sacred and you are the temple of God.
â€œLook at our youths today, our children,Â nudity is their style. There was a time the Lagos State Government closed one club down, now it has reopened with a new name.
â€œThey are charging between N10,000 and N20,000 just because of nakedness. The ages of the ladies parading themselves there range from 18 to 25 years. And you have these stupid men who call themselves fathers of their families going there to sleep with them, destroying them the more.â€