By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Sabon-Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has demolished over 300 beer parlours in Kasuwan Dole (local drinks market) in Dushi Waje, Sabon-Gari, Zaria.
The Council also enacted a Bye-law, which contained stringent conditions inimical to the sale and consumption of alcohol in the area.
Chairman of Hotel/Beer, Liquor Proprietors Association, Zaria Branch, Mr Ezenobi Godwin, who was represented by Mr Thaddeus Tabugbo, said, the sealing of beer parlours exercise commenced on Saturday, July 18, 2020, based on orders obtained from the Magistrate Court under Chief Magistrate Zainab Garba Muhammed.
Mr Godwin said while his members were waiting for approval of the local government to renew their licenses, Chairman of the Council, Engineer Mohammed Usman, invited them for a meeting.
He however lamented that during the meeting, his members were labeled as “operating illegal business premises without license” and directed officials of the Council to sealed up all hotels and joints until new licenses are obtained.
This Reporter gathered that, the Association quickly rushed to High Court and obtained an injunction restraining the council from implementing the chairman’s closure order.
The Association expressed dismay that while the High Court was yet to deliver judgement, the Council went and obtained an order from Magistrate Court based on Bye-Law of Sabon Gari Local Government 2020, to seal up all their business premises beginning from Saturday, July 18, 2020, till August 2020, when the case will come up for hearing.
Reacting to the Bye-law, the body reiterated that the council had ealier enacted the Bye-law to stop liquor and spirit dealers from sale and consumption of alcohol within the area, which attracted serious condemnation from dealers of liquor and spirit in Sabon Gari LG.
The condition attached to the new application form for obtaining the license, made available to journalists by the association provided that the Ward, Village Head must recommend any applicant to qualify, while the District Head name, stamp and signature must be appended.
Application for new license duly signed by applicant upon receipt of an application read in parts: “The Council shall cost same to be displayed in conspicuous public place and invite objection to the issuance of the license from the residence of the area where the license is applied for and the objection must be received within 14 days of the application meaning that before giving the Association the license the community to operate this beer business, people shall be invited to confirm whether a license should be given to sell beer in that community.
“On the expiration of the 14 days if no objection is received the Council may proceed to issue the license but if an objection is raised the applicant shall be informed.
“Upon the receipt of the application representative of the Council shall proceed to either issue the license or reject the application and then inform the applicant of the rejection of the application immediately.
“That the liquor/spirit may be consumed within the license premises(meaning that drinking shall not be carried out outside that area). That the liquor/spirit shall not be sold to any person below the age of 18years.
“That violation of any of the condition of this license shall render it liable of revocation and persecution. That the license shall be subjected to annual renewal.”
One of the Beer Parlour operators, Mrs. Hannatu James, who spoke to our Reporter said she has been in the business since 1994, adding that they relied on the sale of beer, liquor and palmwine for their children’s school fees and feeding.
At the time of filing this report, all efforts to get clarification from the Council Chairman was futile as he neither received calls nor respond to text put to him.