From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Again, Kaduna State is in the news. And again, it is for the wrong reasons. This time around, it is not news about bandits or kidnapping. Rather, it is in the news for an aborted sex party billed to hold last December 27, 2020.
An announcement of the proposed party was made in the social media. Although the venue of the intended party was left undisclosed, it was left for the security agencies to track down the venue and to act accordingly.
They tracked the venue of the sex party to a restaurant in Sabon Tasha, Chikun Local Government Area and commenced investigations. While investigation was still inclusive, agents of the state government moved in and pulled down the building housing the purported spot.
Owner of the restaurant, Aishatu Mercy Yakubu, faulted the action of the agents of government: “The place is not a hotel, it is not up to a plot of land. We just made the place comfortable for customers to relax with a VIP lounge upstairs. No room, no bed, just a hall like what you have in a typical banking hall.
“I inherited the food business from my mother since when I was eight years old. The allegation that my place was about to host a ‘sex party’ was not true.
“There was nothing of such. Yes, there was a phone number on the said flier, which was used to track the person behind the flier, who confessed that I knew nothing about it.
“He came to the police station and said there was nothing like that; that he was only playing pranks with the flier.
“He did not know or have anything to do with us. When we were arrested, we did not know there was anything like ‘sex party’ until when we got to the station. It is not true.
“The property owner is currently heartbroken as we speak because he knew the allegation was false. We are still trying to pick back our pieces. About N32 million has just been destroyed. I am still on medication due to the loss of a month old pregnancy emanating from the shock.
“There is more to it because they did not exercise the least patience or restrain before coming to demolish all I had ever worked for under a mere allegation.”
Suleiman Lemuna, 24, who worked at the restaurant as bar man said: “A young boy like me came around that he wanted to mark his birthday on December 27, 2020. Before we knew what was happening, the police came and arrested us, took us to their station without telling us our offence.
“It was at the station they told us that someone wrote something about sex party on social media. This is something we knew nothing about. They took us to their station where they showed us the post on their mobile phone. I slept at the police station together with the boy that made the post between December 27 and 28.”
A legal practitioner, Solomon Apenja, noted that even if there was an alleged sex party in that facility, demolition was not the appropriate response: “There are fines, there are warnings. To me, that demolition raised a red flag because Nigeria is not a society ruled by religion.
“Nigerian society is governed by laws. So, people in power need to learn to keep their emotion and religion biases aside when they decide on behalf of the state.
“Yes, there are provisions in our laws that punish indecency. But you still have to juxtapose that against the provision of the constitution vis-a-vis the right of citizens to assemble.
“I know that the Penal Code has something about indecent dressing and maintaining morality. But, morality is subjective and you cannot impose the rule of the majority on the minority.”
However, government reversed itself on the reason it pulled down the structure. It said the building was brought down for its illegal status, noting that their record indicated that the building housing the restaurant had neither a valid title nor a development permit.
Government, through the Kaduna State Urban Development and Planning Authority (KASUPDA), countered the statement it made on its twitter handle on December 31, 2020, which clearly stated that the building was pulled down following an allegation that it planned to host a sex party.
Its Director General, Ismail Umau Dikko, said since the enforcement, much of the commentary on the matter centred on the inaccurate statement from KASUPDA’s twitter account.
While regretting the inaccuracy of the handlers of the social media account, he said they had no regrets over the steps they had taken to enforce the laws and regulations of the state.