Ukpono Ukpong, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has demolished five local wrestling and drama theatres popularly called ‘Gidan Drama’ and ‘Gidan Dembe’ for violating COVID-19 safety protocols.
The demolition took place at Dakibiyu, Gwarimpa 1 and Sector Centre Districts with the support of armed personnel from the police, Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Addressing journalists during the exercise which lasted over three hours, Head, Media, Public Enlightenment and Advocacy of the FCT Ministerial Enforcement Taskforce, Mr. Ikharo Attah said that “the removal of the structures became inevitable following repeated warnings to the owners and operators of the venues to stop operations because they are prohibited to so do under the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.”
According to him, thousands of people gather at these local entertainment centres to watch artistes and wrestlers perform, adding that “in one of the centres, we observed during surveillance that thousands gather to watch nude dancers. Facemasks, physical distancing and sanitizing of the hands do not exist here at all.”
Attah however, appealed to Kannywood actors and actresses who sometime make appearances at such centres to desist, warning that “if we get them here, we will arrest and charge them to court regardless of their fame and status.”
He urged those patronizing the centres to desist from doing so if they hope not to contract the coronavirus.
In a related development, the taskforce also arraigned 25 persons including motorists and commuters for violating the health protocols.
According to Attah, “most of the commercial drivers arrested carried too many passengers and overloaded their vehicles in contravention of the COVID-19 transportation guidelines and protocols.”
He disclosed that one of the drivers who identified himself as Garba was sentenced to one- week imprisonment for assaulting a police officer attached to the taskforce and ramming his car into a police van while trying to evade arrest.