The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Tuesday demolished five local wrestling and drama theatres popularly called “Gidan Dembe” over violations of COVID-19 safety protocols.
The wrestling and dancing theatres were located at Dakibiyu, Gwarimpa 1 and Sector Centre districts. The exercise was carried out by the FCT Ministerial Enforcement Taskforce with assistance from personnel of the Nigeria Police, State Security Services (SSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Ikharo Attah, the Head, Media, Public Enlightenment and Advocacy of the FCT Ministerial Enforcement Taskforce, who spoke shortly after the exercise, said the removal of the structures became inevitable following repeated warnings to the owners of the Gidan Drama and Gidan Dembe to stop operations because “they are prohibited to do so under the COVID-19 Protocols and Guidelines”.
“Thousands of people gather in these local entertainment centres to watch artistes and wrestlers perform,” Attah said.
“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 appealed to Kannywood actors and actresses who according to him, 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 warned.
The task force chairman also urged those patronising the centres to desist from doing so if they hope not to contract the dreaded virus.
Meanwhile, the taskforce also arraigned 25 persons including motorists and commuters for violating the safety protocols.
“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 police personnel attached to the taskforce and ramming his car into a police van while trying to evade arrest.