FCTA warns against using its social development secretariat as drinking joint


By Chioma Nnodim

Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has warned against the use of the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture complex in Garki, Abuja, as a drinking joint by shop owners.

This was made known by the Mandate Secretary, Social Development Secretariat, FCTA, Mr Ibrahim Masari, during an emergency meeting with business operators and shop owners at the secretariat, on Wednesday, in Abuja.

Masari, thereafter, designated 7:30 p.m. as the daily closing hour for all business and shop owners operating within the complex due to security concerns.

He expressed dismay at the level of lawlessness that transpired within the secretariat when he paid an unscheduled visit to the complex around 7:10 p.m. on Oct. 29.

He explained that the visit was to affirm the veracity of the information at his disposal about the heinous acts that happens at the complex late hours of the night.

“To my dismay, I discovered more than 500 persons within the complex at such late hours, enjoying themselves with alcoholic drinks and smoking indiscriminately.

“I was not aware of what the event or activity was all about, as there was no official communication whatsoever to that effect.

“After waiting patiently till about 8:30 p.m. with no signs of them exiting soon, I invited some of the private security guards on duty who accompanied me to disperse the gathering.

“This is very disturbing.

“Management will no longer condone a situation whereby non-staff and tenants in the secretariat will stay back after official closing hours to as late as 9:00 p.m.,” he said.

He explained that the decision was imperative taking into consideration the security of lives as well as government properties.

The mandate secretary said that the 7:30 p.m. closing hour would take effect from Thursday, advising members of the public to take note to avoid embarrassment from security personnel.

He stressed that the civil service rule forbids the sale of alcohol or any other intoxicating substances within working premises.

He added that an internal mechanism has been activated to sanction business owners who encouraged such lawlessness and disregard to the extant rules.

“Business owners and members of the public who transact businesses in the complex after 7:30 p.m. will have themselves to blame if caught flouting this directive.

“Our private security guards have been duly advised accordingly,” he added.