THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) is holding talks with operators over the enforcement of an alcohol ban and 7pm closure time for parks in Abuja.
Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCTA Minister, Ikharo Attah, disclosed this in an interview with The ICIR on Tuesday.
Attah said park operators, FCTA representatives and other stakeholders held a meeting on Tuesday morning over the issue.
“There are ongoing conversations and engagements going on here. In the policy, alcohol ought not be sold in parks where children and their parents come to rest together in the greens, but we are looking at everything.
“This morning we held a large-scale engagement meeting with the park operators. The park department was on ground, the CSOs, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) had persons on ground, all stakeholders were involved in the meeting today and we are going to report to the FCT Permanent Secretary, who from that point will communicate to the Minister,” he said.
Attah noted that several factors were discussed during the meeting including investments by park owners among others.
“The park owners are asking for 9-10pm closing time, while the FCTA is showing them the park policy. But in all, we are doing this for God and the country, because the park operators are people who have put in their money to this city which we recognise.
“We are looking at their points and the points of residents who are crying bitterly that they close late and need to go and have some fun. We are considering them, we’re humans too,” he added.
Attah, however, noted that while discussions are ongoing, the enforcement of the park policy will continue, adding that bars, nightclubs and lounges were excluded from the restrictions.
“Enforcement began heavily yesterday. We shut down some parks, sealed about two and we are still going on today while discussions and engagements remain on the front burner,” Attah said.
He also noted that the FCTA has appealed to park owners not to lay off workers, and urged residents of the city to adjust their time.
The FCTA commenced enforcement of a 7pm park closure and alcohol ban in the FCT on Monday.
Attah had told journalists over the weekend that the FCT Minister Muhammad Musa Bello gave the order to enforce the Park Policy signed by ex-President, Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005.