By Stanley Onyekwere
Apparently irked by the continued violations of its COVID-19 safety regulations, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has pulled down five local wrestling and drama theatres otherwise popularly called “Gidan Drama” and “Gidan Dembe”.
The demolition exercise, which took place at Jabi-Dakibiyu, Gwarimpa 1 and Sector Centre districts, had armed personnel of the Nigerian Police, State Security Services SSS and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) that provided security backing.
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 “the removal of the structures became inevitable following repeated warnings to the owners and operators of the Gidan Drama and Gidan Dembe to stop operations because they are prohibited to so do under the COVID-19 Protocols and Guidelines
“Thousands of persons gather in these local entertainment centres to watch artistes and wrestlers perform. 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 sometimes make appearances in these centres to desist from coming here. If we get them here we will arrest and charge them to court regardless of their fame and status”.
He also urged those patronising the centres to desist from doing so if they hope not to contract the virus.
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 personnel attached to the taskforce and ramming his car into a police van while trying to evade arrest.