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FCT minister defends demolition of Caramelo night club

Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, has explained why the authorities demolished controversial Caramelo Night Club in Abuja.
The Federal Capital Territory Development Authority (FCDA) through its Department of Development Control (DDC) had on Monday demolished the controversial Caramelo Lounge, a popular strip club, located at No 630, TOS Benson Crescent, Utako District Abuja, for allegedly contravening the FCT land use regulations.
The FCDA authorities also revoked the Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) issued on the plot.
Mohammed responding to a question on why the building was not confiscated rather than demolished, said the action taken was the last resort following a breach by the original owner.
He explained that the land that housed the demolished strip club, has now become government property.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo, on Thursday night,
He noted that while Abuja is a city for everyone, nevertheless, the law had to take its course and the government was determined to follow the master plan in all its dealings.
Bello explained that everything in Abuja was being governed by laws, rules and regulations through the Abuja Master Plan and any violation of the plan would attract sanctions from relevant authorities.
According to him, the master plan makes provisions for all activities including night clubs, saying that it does not allow a person to convert a building meant for a clinic into a night club.
“I’m quite interested also in the way I see the feedback from the wider community.
”I have had cause to discuss with many of your colleagues when many people felt that this minister has not been demolishing.
”As a matter of fact `he is not demolishing so he is not working’ – it is due process, my brother.
“If you check the record, you will be surprised how long it took to reach that painful decision of having to demolish that (property).
“As a matter of fact, that all the regulations were there – that property is no longer owned, it has been reverted to government because it is very clear, check any C-of-O, you will see the conditions.
“If there is a flagrant abuse and there are no efforts to correct that abuse, it reverts to government.
“But I want you to be rest assured that for every demolition you see, maybe a hundred were saved.”
He urged Nigerians to “go that extra mile and follow the law.”
The authorities were said to have given a notice before the demolition took place.
But the Managing Director of the club, Maxwell Eze, had lamented that the notice was given on Friday with a 21-day notice which was reduced to 48 hours.
According to him, they were not given enough time to remove any valuables before the demolition.
He added that N500 million worth of equipment had been lost in the demolition which rendered direct staff strength of 105 unemployed.