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Kano residents happy over closure of Mbanefo hotel

Residents of Kano state have expressed happiness over closure of a hotel located in Sabon Gari area of the state over suspected case of human trafficking and other illegal activities.

Kano state government had last Thursday (April 11) sealed the popular hotel, Mbanefo Holiday Inn located at No. 42, 43 and 45, Abeokuta road in Sabon Gari area.

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The closure followed a directive by the Kano State governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who received a report from the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) on the illegal activities allegedly conducted in the hotel.

No fewer than 30 persons were arrested during a joint operation by the Kano State Tourism Management Board, the Nigerian Immigration Services, Kano State Hizbah Board, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) and the Nigeria Police Force.

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Kano Chronicle gathered that some of the illegal activities allegedly taking place in the hotel include child abuse and prostitution where under-aged school girls were lured into the hotel as well as suspected cases of human trafficking.

The offences violated the NAPTIP rules, Kano state Hizbah Board Section 44 (h) i – iii and Immigration Act (2015).

Kano State Tourism Edict No. 2994 of 1994, Section 16, empowers the Kano State Tourism Management Board to register, license, grade and classify all hospitality and tourism organizations in the state. These include hotels and recreational centres.

The board was also empowered by the act to sanction or prosecute any person or organization that wilfully operate a hotel or any other tourism outfit without a license.

Some Kano residents who spoke with Kano Chronicles said they supported the government’s closure of the hotel.

They, however, said more needs to be done as Mbanefo was one out of many hotels where such unwholesome activities take place.

Dr Bashir Umar Ali of Al-Furqan Mosque said “It is incumbent upon a leader to stop illegalities not only by mere warning but also by force because it is a trust of Allah on him. So what government did was right and we are in full support of that.”

He added that religious leaders have a duty to support the government in doing what is right and also to admonish the general public to report such illegal activities to the relevant authorities wherever they are happening for the government to take the necessary action.

Dr Umar then called on parents to consider their children as the trust of Allah upon them and ensure that they are alive to their responsibility of guiding and guarding their children.

Hajiya Hadiza Yalwa said parents have the larger chunk of the blame as they don’t care about the interactions of their children with friends and other people.

“It is our responsibility to know who the friends of our children are.

“It is also our duty to know where our children are and what they are doing at all the time,” she said

A Sabon Gari resident, Samson Lazarus, said the hotel management should have been given time to rectify the problem before the outright closure.

“I believe government has the power to take any action when and where necessary, but I think they should have given the hotel owner enough time to investigate what is happening and take the necessary corrective measures,” Mr Lazarus said.

Another respondent, Habu Mustapha, said “This is one out of many, anyone that is conversant with activities of hotels knows what is happening in Kano, especially around Sabon Gari area. So, we hope government will do more to fish out all defaulters.”

Reacting to the closure, the hotel manager, Mr Boniface Anayochukwu, said he had registered with the tourism board but his license was later revoked and was asked to reapply for another registration. He added that he had been paying dues to the board.

However, the Director, Inspection and Assessment of the board, Alhaji Ahmad Faruk Ladan, dispelled the claim of payment from the hotel owner, saying “What he used to pay was what we called Tourism Development Levy (TDL), and even that, he did not pay for the past two years.”

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