Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory’s (FCT) Mobile Court has ordered the unsealing of Jabi Lake Mall, Abuja, which was shut down on June 14 after the management contravened the Presidential Task Force (PTF) protocols on COVID-19 by allowing its premises to be used for a Drive-in-Concert that featured Naira Marley.
The Mobile Court Magistrate, Ms. Idayat Akonni, who earlier gave the 14-day shutdown order, considered a plea by the management of the mall that asked the court to set aside the earlier ruling in the overriding economic interest of the retailers, employees and their dependents.
Akonni said the management erred by allowing the upscale mall to be used for the concert in violation of the PTF safety guidelines on COVID-19.
She said the court granted the application for the re-opening of the lakeside mall on compassion, having considered the effects of its continual lockdown on the retailers, employees and other tenants, who were not co-offenders in the matter and may have their fundamental human rights infringed upon.
Akonni also said the management had shown substantial remorse for their action. She asked the management to tender an apology to the Federal Government and the FCT Administration in some national dailies.
An officer of Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Mr. Ibrahim Are, unsealed the mall at about 11.30 a.m. in compliance with the court order.
The Counsel for the Applicants, Mr. Nnamdi Ekwem, expressed gratitude to the Mobile Court for considering the pleas in the overwhelming interest of the dependents of the mall in reviewing its judgment.
The Chairman of FCT Ministerial Task Force, Mr. Ikharo Attah, said the FCTA had no objections to the court ruling because it wants to remain a model in obeying rule of law.