In Akure, the capital of Ondo State, nightclub owners are accusing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of forcibly seizing surveillance footage during recent raids on their establishments. They plan to take legal action against the EFCC for what they describe as unlawful invasions.

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The controversy erupted after armed EFCC agents raided Alba Royale Club and Signatures Club over the weekend, targeting patrons. Among those detained were a groom and his friends celebrating a bachelor’s party. The EFCC confiscated mobile phones, laptops, and vehicles from those apprehended.

According to the EFCC, the operation was based on intelligence reports alleging that 127 individuals were involved in internet fraud and were attending “Yahoo Parties.” The EFCC claims that the raids were conducted properly and denies any misconduct, asserting that no individuals were harmed or mistreated.

However, the nightclub owners tell a different story. At a press conference, Ayo Alabi, the chairman and CEO of Alba Royale Hotel, alleged that EFCC operatives destroyed the club’s CCTV system. He recounted receiving a call from his security staff, initially believing the hotel was under attack by robbers, only to discover it was an EFCC operation. Alabi claims he observed the raid via CCTV before the system was dismantled.

Ayo Abass-Akinwande of Signature Club reported severe damage to the premises and significant financial losses. He described the EFCC agents, identifiable by their red jackets and firearms, as using excessive force, including beating patrons and deploying tear gas. Both male and female customers were allegedly mistreated, with some requiring first aid for medical emergencies.

Abayomi Ajepe, chair of the Ondo State Lounge and Club Owners Association (OSLACOA), expressed solidarity with the affected club owners and criticized the raids for damaging the local hospitality industry. He noted that since the incident, business activities have been halted, and the association is exploring legal recourse.

The Nigerian Bar Association’s Akure branch has called for an investigation into what it terms the “unlawful, unprofessional, and barbaric” actions of the EFCC. Chairman Olabanjo Ayenakin demanded a probe and compensation for those impacted, condemning the operation as a grave violation of fundamental rights.

In response, EFCC spokesperson Dele Oyewale defended the operation, describing it as a “classical sting operation” based on solid intelligence. Oyewale refuted claims of misconduct, stating that no tear gas was used, and no suspects were mistreated.



Victoria Ibiama