Police yesterday arraigned the owner of Play Empire, Mr. Bruno Owede, before an Ebute-Metta Magistrates’ Court on a fourcount charge bordering on violation of COVID-19 protocols. The state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had led a team of policemen to raid some clubs on the Island including Club Victoria and Play Empire on January 9. During the raids, 143 clubbers and strippers were arrested while 54 cars were impounded.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, said yesterday that in continuation of the due enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols, the command had been on the trail of violators. Adejobi said the violation of such protocols could aid the spread of the pandemic. The PPRO noted that the Commissioner of Police, Odumosu, had taken it as a responsibility to enforce the protocols.
He said: “That is why we give an update to members of the public on some of the developments we have made. One of the owners of the clubs that we have raided has been arrested for violating the COVID-19 protocols in the state.
“The commissioner said the owners of such clubs henceforth would not be spared but would be arrested and prosecuted along with the clubbers, fun seekers and strippers. “If the club owners don’t operate, these fun seekers would not patronise them.
We have one of them, Mr. Bruno Owede, the owner of Play Empire, Victoria Island. He is in the custody of the Legal Department of the State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID) of the Lagos State Police Command.
“We are using this medium to get across to others that they should please stop violating these protocols for our own good. “We still want to say categorically that other violators should beware of this because the command will not relent in ensuring the full enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines in the state.
“It is clear that the Federal Government has imposed a curfew of midnight to 4am on a daily basis and we are not going to compromise on this. “The government has also announced a total closure of club houses, bars, lounges and event centres.
There are some event centres that would have permits from the Safety Commission of the state but not all. If at all you want to operate your event centres, even with the permission or certificate to operate from the Lagos State Safety Commission, there are still conditions to be met – such as social distancing and the wearing of face masks; there should be no hugging, no handshake.
“These protocols are essential to help halt the spread of the pandemic. The pandemic is a global reality and these protocols are not just limited to Lagos State or Nigeria alone.” However, before his arraignment, Owede told journalists that he was away when the incident happened in his club on Friday. He said: “I got a call that my club was being raided by the police. I rushed back to Lagos to make sure that all the customers taken to the station were released.
I also went to the DPO to tender a letter of apology. “It was my manager who opened the club on the fateful day without my consent. My advice to other club owners is to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and take it seriously in order to curb the spread of the disease in the state. “I am very sorry for the actions and inconveniences the negligence of the manager might have caused the state and country as a whole.”