June 10, 2024

Ondo hotel, club owners protest invasion of business premises by EFCC



—- Attack similar to armed robbery attack

—- Took away expensive drinks, brutalize customers

—-No one was brutalized EFCC spokesperson

By Dayo Johnson, Akure

Club and hotel owners in Ondo State Lounge and Club Owners Association (OSLACOA) have protested the invasion of their business premises by men of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

They said that the attack which had cripple their businesses and ruin nightlife in Akure, the state capital, and other parts of the state, was similar to an armed robbery attack.

Recall that the operatives of the security agency invaded two night clubs in Akure metropolis, arrested 127 persons suspected to be internet fraudsters including a groom to be who had his bachelor’s eve at one of clubhouse.

Addressing newsmen in Akure, their Chairman,Abayomi Ajepe and two others Prince Ayo Alabi, and Ayo Abass-Akinwande, alleged that 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.

Ajepe said that “what we experienced on Saturday we never expected of it, 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 are still there.

” We want government to check-mate this unacceptable attitude on our community, government needs to come to our aids

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

Also speaking, Ayo Abass Akinwande, who spoke on behalf of the Signatures Elixir said; “. 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 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.

“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 DJ 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.

“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.”

Another member, Ayo Alabi, said; “as usual on Friday night we use to have clubbing activities in my hotel, and we have responsible people that use to there to wine.

“At about 1:30am my phone rang as usual because I don’t normally switched off my and it was one 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 who gave me the comprehensive report on what really happened.

” Meanwhile, I was watching it through the CCTV on my phone and when it was exactly one-hour, the CCTV 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.”

But reacting, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has denied using teargas and whips for the last weekend sting operation in the state.

The Spokesman for the agency, Dele Oyewale, in a press statement on Sunday, denied the allegations, saying that “The Operatives executed a classical sting operation at two Clubs simultaneously in Akure based on credible intelligence, leading to the arrest of the suspected fraudsters.

“The operation, in line with the established ground norm for such engagement, was devoid of any incident as the Operatives conducted themselves professionally.

“It was therefore shocking to be confronted with narratives particularly from the social media about brutalisation, including a trending video of two ladies showing bodies lacerated by whips.

“The Commission wants the public to discountenance this video as it may have been stage managed to achieve motives that are unclear. The Commission will subject this video to forensic analysis to establish its falsehood and prepare a case against purveyors of this distasteful stunt.

Oyewale said that “The Commission wishes to state that no suspect was assaulted, brutalised or subjected to any dehumanising treatment during the Saturday operation.

“It is also false that tear gas was fired at the crime scene. Those familiar with the Commission’s operations know that EFCC personnel do not use tear gas during sting operation.

“The officers that carried out the arrests neither came to the scene of crime with canister of tear gas nor whips, to inflict bodily injuries on suspects.

“It is also important to state that no damage was done to the CCTV facility at the scene of the arrest.  The device was removed by a staff of the Club at the instance of operatives of the Commission to preserve the footages for further analysis of the role of each of the arrested suspects in the alleged crime.

“It is needful to state, for the umpteenth time, that the Standard Operating Procedure of the EFCC foreclose the use of brute force or unprofessional conduct in the course of any operation.

” The EFCC is a civilized law enforcement agency with optimal respect for human dignity and the rule of law.

Oyewale added that ” the profiling of suspects arrested at the scene of the crime has been completed.  They will be prosecuted accordingly.