Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja and AlaoAbiodun/ The Nation
THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Sunday closed down the popular Jabi Lake Mall, Abuja indefinitely after the facility violated the Presidential Task Force’s (PTF) directives on the ban on public gatherings as part of measures to curb the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The order issued by the FCT Task Force on COVID-19 is coming a day after popular musician, Azeez Fashola, known as Naira Marley, featured and entertained fun-seekers at the mall.
Naira Marley came under intense criticism for performing at the concert that recorded massive attendance.
It was gathered that Naira Marley flew from Lagos to Abuja with Ex-BBNaija star, Kim Oprah, despite the ban on interstate movement and flights.
Speaking to reporters in Abuja after sealing the mall, Chairman of the Ministerial Enforcement Task team on COVID-19 restrictions, Ikharo Attah, lamented that despite several warnings from the PTF and the FCT Administration on guidelines to operate, the mall management chose to permit a concert by Naira Marley and also conducting business activities exceeding the normal hours allowed by the authorities.
He added that the administration has secured a judgment from a mobile court headed by Magistrate Idayat Akonni, who sat in the mall’s premises in Jabi to seal up the mall for two weeks for default of the COVID-19 protocols following three count charges.
Ikharo, who explained that the seal-up order was necessitated by the unlawful and the embarrassing event at the mall on Friday night.
When asked if the FCT administration plan to declare Marley wanted, Attah said: “He flew into Abuja Friday from Lagos and returned back the same day to the nation’s former capital city. We are convinced that the Lagos State government, which had in recent past had an unpleasant experience with the artist will do the needful since he also breached the interstate travel ban, which applies to Lagos State.”
Many Abuja residents have criticised the organisers of the event for holding such during the COVID-19 pandemic saga.
They are of the views that Naira Marley should be sanctioned for performing and violating the PTF protocols.
The event, which was meant to be a “drive-in concert”, was was organised by Play Network Africa, Traffic Bar, El’Carnival and sponsored by Glenfiddich with tickets sold between N20,000 and N250,000.
According to reports, it was gathered that fans at the concert defied the social distancing order as stipulated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Fans trooped out of their vehicles to the stage ground to witness Naira Marley’s performance.