Lagos hotelier laments as EFCC’s raids ground business

The Chief Executive Officer, Lakers Lounge Hotel and Bar, Ikorodu, Lagos State, Oladimeji Ogunfolaju, has lamented the loss of his business after several raids by security agencies, especially men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Speaking with our correspondent on Thursday, Ogunfolaju said customers had stopped visiting his business over fear of being harassed and arrested.

He said, “I have been operating this business since 2017 and since we started, we have encountered a lot of challenges from security operatives. In 2019, men of the anti-cultism unit of the state police command came here to harass customers. We reported at the Lagos Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, and those involved were prosecuted.

“Fast forward to March 7, 2020, we had the EFCC raid and they arrested me and my customers. They also took customers’ cars. In fact, the raid was a disaster for the business. After being released, I managed to build up the business to normal capacity through promotion, brand activation and bank loans despite the serial losses incurred during the EFCC raid.

“But sometime in April 2022, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency invaded the premises, arrested customers and even my manager, who was found with nothing as we don’t deal in drugs. Two months after the NDLEA raid, precisely on Friday, June 3, 2022, EFCC officials raided the premises again.

“This raid was so disastrous that the EFCC officials beat up my workers and customers with sticks, fired gunshots into the air, ordered them to lie down so they wouldn’t look them in the eye and forced out a couple that were found naked in their room. It was so terrible that this raid sank the business activities on this premises.”

The aggrieved businessman said his outlet had about 120 workers, but he had to sack about 80 per cent of his staff because of reduced patronage.

Ogunfolaju urged security agencies to have regard for business premises, adding that if they had targets, they should go after such people instead of harassing innocent customers.

“I have a lot of facilities to service. All the loans I have taken from banks to maintain this place and all, how do I pay back? I am struggling as an entrepreneur to create jobs for people and these agencies are taking the jobs away from them,” he added.

A customer, Oladapo Ogunyinka, who claimed that an official of the EFCC seized his iPhone PRO Max 13 and Samsung Galaxy A22 valued at N900,000 and failed to tender them as evidence after the June raid, said he had yet to recover his phones.

He said, “The EFCC officials that raided the club came from Ibadan, Oyo State. When I got there to claim my phones and showed them the officer, Olumide, who seized them from me during the raid, they started appealing to me and promised to help me get them.

“But when the story came out in The PUNCH, the EFCC officials at Ibadan started saying they could not do anything as one Chris Odofin, who brought the case from Ibadan, had transferred it to Abuja. I want my property back and as I speak to you, all my businesses have been affected.”

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