Officials from the social development office on Monday demolished Caramelo, a night club in Abuja.
The Caramelo Bar was pulled down two days after a demolition notice was delivered for workers and guests to vacate.
The club owners have blamed Abuja minister, Bello Mohammed, for the demolition, describing it as a vindictive measure that did not consider the country’s flailing economy.
Maxwell Eze, the club owner has now reacted to the demolition.
With his eyebrows soaked, he decried the manner with which his property was destroyed, describing himself as a law-abiding citizen.
Mr Eze gave PREMIUM TIMES an insight into the hopelessness he felt about the situation, which he described as entirely avoidable.
“They just destroyed N500 million in a struggling economy,” Mr Eze said. “This is deliberate sabotage of this country’s economy.”
Mr Eze said at least 105 Nigerians were in direct employment at Caramelo, with the lowest paid not getting below the minimum wage.
“Now, not only the 105 people have been rendered jobless, our suppliers and other indirect labourers will have to find ways to earn a living for themselves and families,” Mr Eze said.
At least two of his staff members who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES expressed dismay at government’s action, expressing fears about their livelihood.
“Anguish is the only thing I feel right now,” Sunday Enenche, a Caramelo barman, told PREMIUM TIMES. “This is the only employment I have known and I have used to feed my family for many years.”
He also said Caramelo was properly registered and paid federal taxes and other levies to at least 15 offices from neighbourhood and professional associations to federal agencies.
Yet the property was destroyed with only a two-day notification, he said.
Mr Eze displayed the notice to reporters on Monday morning. It said the building was illegally constructed and had been constituting a nuisance to residents.
It was the first time an official reason would be cited for the government’s crackdown on the famed bar, Mr Eze said.