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‘The owner flouted a court order’ — FCTA speaks on restaurant sealed in Abuja

‘The owner flouted a court order’ — FCTA speaks on restaurant sealed in Abuja
November 13
18:09 2020

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has denied illegally sealing L & N Kitchen, a restaurant in Abuja.

Obinatu Remigius, head of environmental and occupational health division at FCTA, told TheCable on Friday that the restaurant was sealed by court officials after the owner flouted a court order.

He also said the woman “decided not to honour the court because she knows she is connected.”

In a viral video, the businesswoman had lamented that officials of the Abuja Municipal Council (AMAC) locked her restaurant over failure to prove her staff had conducted the food handlers test.

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The woman had accused the officials of locking customers inside one of her outlets in Gwarimpa while she was away.

But in separate interviews with TheCable, officials of AMAC and FCTA denied the claim, saying workers at the restaurant failed to provide evidence of the test when they visited.

According to a September 4 court summons which was seen by TheCable, the business operators were directed to appear before an Abuja magistrate’s court after being accused of acting contrary to the food stuff and regulated premises bye-law.

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The summons followed an earlier letter from FCTA health division, notifying the woman that “all food handlers in your establishments should be screened before commencement and subsequently every six months.”

Remigius, however, told TheCable that the court was forced to seal the restaurant after the staff ignored officials “because they have connection.”

“The people that came for the sealing are not from AMAC, it is the high court of FCT but AMAC and public health staff were there only to observe and provide information if required,” he said.

“But they refused to even give them audience because they have connection. The public should know that even if you are highly connected, it is still good to abide by established laws and do things the way they are supposed to be done.

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“She decided not to honour the court because she knows she is connected.”

Abiodun Essiet, an aide of Abdullahi Adamu, AMAC chairman, told TheCable no customer was locked inside the restaurant as “only one of their two entrances was sealed.”

She added that the officials went to the two branches of the restaurant seeking evidence of the test, but “out of eight people (staff) we met, only one has (the health) certificate dated 9th of September.”

“It was discovered that their food handlers were not screened. They were served abatement notice and given time line to comply,” she said.

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“When the timeline elapsed and they didn’t comply, public health department submitted their name to AMAC enforcement team.

“They were duly served court summon for non-compliance and they didn’t honour court invitation and judgement was gotten against them. The enforcement team went for enforcement at L&N, demanded for evidence of compliance which they were unable to present, hence the sealing.”

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Efforts to get the business outlet to respond to the FCT officials’ claims were not unsuccessful. Phone calls to one of the supervisors were not unanswered while TheCable reporter was unable to meet the founder during two visits to the outlet.

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