TOYIN ADEBAYO, ABUJA
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Magistrate Court on Tuesday re-opened the shut Jabi Lake Mall after 10 days of closure.
It also ordered the Mall to publish an unreserved apology to Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) in some National dailies, for hosting the Lagos-based controversial artist, Naira Marley in concert.
It would however be recalled that, the Mall was shut last week by an order of same court for organising the” Drive-in-Concert which attracted crowd within the premises, against the social distancing rules and the extant 8pm-6am curfew.
Three staff of the Mall who were arraigned before the Magistrate that sat as a Mobile Court at Jabi, were accused of organising a concert that violated the COVID-19 health safety guidelines and other protocols approved by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.
Magistrate Idayat Akanni who ordered that the Mall should immediately be re-opened, stated that she had perused the application filed by the defence counsel Mr. Nnamdi Ekwem, praying the court to unseal the business premises.
Akanni noted that her judgement was based on the overall interest of those who will be affected adversely, should the Mall remain closed. She also stated that the Mall has over 100 employees and other tenants who are not co-offenders in the matter, and may have their fundamental human rights seriously infracted.
According to her, the order is also based on compassion, especially, in consideration of the economic losses that will be suffered by those affected, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 on the people.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of FCT Ministerial Task Force on COVID-19 Comrade Ikharo Attah stated that FCTA has no objections to the rulings of the court, because the administration wants to remain a model in obeying the rule of law.
Attah noted that FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello has demonstrated a strong will to respect the laws while striving for good governance. He stressed that nobody can violate the laws and go unpunished in FCT.
He also added that the management of the Mall is expected to comply with the order of the court on publishing an apology to government on national dailies, as soon as possible.
Attah added, ” In the wisdom of the court, it has decided to re-open the Mall after 10 days, while also asking the Management to publish an apology to government on national dailies, we expect it as quick as possible.
He added that, ” we have shown the world that government works here, we have also shown that the rule of law is respected here. We abide by the order, since the court’s judgment is based on compassion and the economic losses already recorded”.