Terror alert: Abuja hotels, guests to undergo security checks

THE Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) has directed that hotels operating in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the guests checking into them would henceforth undergo security scrutiny and profiling.

The directive followed recent terror alerts issued by the United States and the United Kingdom warning of likely terror attacks in the FCT.

According to the AMMC, the profiling would be done by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) alongside security operatives.

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The authorities have also given a one-week ultimatum to hotels operating in residential buildings to close down, failing which punitive measures would be applied against them.

AMMC Coordinator Umar Shuaibu announced the fresh directive at news conference in Abuja.

Shuaibu explained that the renewed clampdown against erring hotels, guest houses and motels, among others in the FCT, was to help tackle insecurity in the nation’s capital.

He stressed that unregistered hospitality facilities allowed criminal elements to hide and perpetrate their crimes.

Shuiabu insisted that all hotels, and the like, must henceforth profile all their guests and liaise with relevant security agencies to nip crimes and criminalities in the bud.

“The FCTA has observed with great concern that some random persons altered their land use from the initial approved purpose to hospitality purposes; many of these contraventions are residential quarters that were converted to hotels, brothels etc. These constitute security challenges in the entire territory.

“Also identified is that many criminal elements disguise themselves, check into some of these hospitality services as guests, and hide out before and after carrying out their nefarious activities.

    “These property owners are operating hotels without following the appropriate procedure of acquiring all necessary approvals from the relevant agencies of the FCTA,” Shuaibu said.

    Shuaibu listed some conditions that must be met to operate facilities such as hotels, guest houses and tourism centres. According to him, they must be registered and licensed with the Social Development Secretariat, and every hospitality operator must profile all guests and visitors.

    He added that any operator willing to remain in business should use the one-week window for registration, adding that such operators must be responsible for their own internal security arrangements.

    He warned operators to comply with the directive and reiterated that it would not be business as usual.

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