…Accuses LGC’s action as “discriminatory.”
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
In a bid to ban the sale and consumption of all sorts of alcohol, Sabon Gari local government area of Zaria in Kaduna state has sealed up over 300 beer parlours, liquor and spirit shops across the local government.
The chairman, dealers of liquor and spirit association in Sabon Gari, Zaria, Mr Ezenobi Godwin, who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen, said some of their business premises, including 40 shops located at “Kasuan Dole,” have been demolished.
The chairman, represented by Mr Thaddeus S, said the exercise, which commenced since Saturday, 18th July, 2020, was based on order obtained from Magistrates’ Court under Child Magistrate, Zainab Garba Muhammed.
Mr Godwin said that, while they were waiting for approval of the local government to renew their license, the chairman, Engr. Muhammed L. Usman, invited them for a meeting.
Dealers of liquor chairman lamented that during the meeting, his members were labeled as “operating illegal business premises without license” and directed them to go and close down all their joints until new licenses are obtained, without prior notice.
According to Mr Godwin, their association quickly rushed to High Court and obtained injunction restraining the council from implementing the chairman closure order, which efforts to please them was rejected.
The association expressed dismay that, while the High Court was yet to deliver the judgment, the council went and obtained an order from Magistrates’ Court, based on Bye-Law of Sabon Gari Local Government 2020, to seal up all their business premises, beginning from Saturday, 18th July 2020, till August 2020, when the case will come up for hearing.
The body also stated that the council had earlier issued a bye-law to liquor and spirit dealers to stop the sale and consumption of alcohol within the area, which attracted serious condemnation from dealers of liquor and spirit in Sabon Gari local government area.
The condition attached to the new application form for obtaining the license, as made available to journalists by the association, provided that the ward and village head must recommend any applicant to be qualified, while the district head’s name, stamp and signature must be endorsed.
Application for new license duly signed by applicant upon receipt of an application reads 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 residents 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 18 years. That violation of any of the conditions of this license shall render it liable of revocation and persecution. That the license shall be subjected to annual renewal,” it stated.
One of the women victims, Hanatu 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 palm-wine for their children’s (school) fees and feeding.
All efforts to clarify from council were futile, as the chairman neither received calls nor responded to texts put to him.