Celia Suites, Abeokuta, one of the hotels invaded by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday in Ogun State has accused the agency of harassing their guests.
Idowu Mosope, the hotel’s compliance officer, told journalists in Abeokuta on Tuesday the operatives of the commission threatened their staff at gunpoint.
Mr Mosope said the operatives, numbering about 25 and fully armed, stormed the hotel in “a commando-like manner,” went to the hotel’s front office and threatened workers, at gunpoint, to lead them to the CCTV.
He also said the operatives went to the hotel’s server room and seized their gadgets and DVR.
“After that, they collected hotel master cards, they did not allow our staff to lead them, they were opening the rooms one after the other with the master cards,” he added.
The operatives of the anti-graft agency had stormed some hotels in Abeokuta in the early hours of Monday and arrested 56 lodgers who they claimed were suspected internet fraudsters.
Our reporter who visited Mitros Hotel, one of the hotels invaded by the agency, observed broken doors, shattered plates, and damaged furniture on the premises.
The EFCC in a statement on Tuesday accused hotel owners of providing an enabling environment for internet fraudsters and blocking their operatives from arresting them.
Mr Mosope said some of their lodgers lamented that “the EFCC operatives forcefully entered their rooms and met many of them naked,” adding that the guests had threatened to press charges against the hotel over the invasion.
He said the operatives went away with three guests who arrived in Nigeria from Dubai.
He also faulted how the EFCC operatives carried out their operations, adding that they stormed the hotel at 3 a.m.
“They invaded the privacy of these guests without allowing our staff to guide them in line with the international standard and hotel practices. That was not what they told us during the training,” he said.
“They did not knock. they did not spend more than 20 minutes here, it is like they are tracing somebody. If they had told us, we would have shown them and other guests would not have known. They opened all the rooms and some guests were naked. They were scared.
“Now, the guests want to sue the hotel and not the EFCC. They said why did we allow their privacy to be intruded on? Why did we give them master cards? We did not say they should not work. Our boss hates anything like internet fraud. We don’t take them (fraudsters) in.”
Mr Mosope said the EFCC operatives entered all the 15 rooms in the hotel before taking away the three guests.
“The guest came in on Saturday with his pregnant wife from Dubai and two of his friends. We collected his profile when he came and kept it.
“On his luggage, we called the police because the EFCC did not take his luggage away and his wife left the second day. We called the police and they came to document it before we packed the load so that anytime he comes, we can hand over this luggage to him.
“They should have come with a warrant of arrest of somebody they are tracing, we are partners in progress.
“They have told us that we should cooperate and we are cooperating. Anybody they are tracking should show us so that other people will not be affected. This has given us a bad image. Our reputation has gone bad. This is demarketing on its own.”
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