Hoteliers hail FG’s ban on lodging of underage girls

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The Nigerian Hoteliers Association (NHA) on Tuesday lauded the Federal Government’s ban on lodging of underage girls in hotels across the country.

The association described this as  a step in the right direction.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, on June 8 in Abuja announced the federal government’s plan to ban lodging of underage girls in hotels across the country.

The minister said the ban will  take effect from June 20.

Kennedy-Ohanenye cautioned hoteliers nationwide against accommodating underage girls in their facilities, as defaulters will face sanctions.

She mandated them to put up a ‘No Lodging of Underage Girls’ signage outside their facilities.

Eze Patrick Anyanwu, National President of NHA, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview said “encouraging underage girls access into hotels is a way of promoting prostitution and must be discouraged”.

Eze Patrick Anyanwu, National President, Nigeria Hoteliers Association and Chief Jamiu Talabi, President of Lagos Hoteliers Association

Anyanwu said that hoteliers would cooperate with the federal government to implement the ban and ensure full adherance.

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“Accommodating underage girls in hotels is not good, we are in support of federal government’s decision and I will also seize this opportunity to tell fellow hotel operators to begin to reject lodging of underage girls even before the implementation begins.

“Lodging underage girls will continue to promote prostitution, these are girls who are supposed to be in school or be positively engaged somewhere.

“We will make sure we assist government in implementing this, to have a sane society and raise responsible girls,” he said.

Anyanwu noted that there were also other important issues government needed to wade into as it relates with hoteliers’ operations.

“I urge the federal government to encourage hoteliers by way of giving out grants, tax exemptions and waiver as the case may be.

“Hoteliers are only straggling to remain in business considering the current economic hardship, hike in fuel and diesel prices as well as electricity tarrif.

“We are only struggling to stay in business, we do ridiculous things to remain in business.

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“We want government to look in our direction and take positive steps to help us just the way the ban of lodging of underage girls will be done.

“We have not enjoyed government support at all, we are the ones who accomodate their guests, we create employment and contribute maximally to boosting the nation’s Gross Domestic Product,” he said.

Also,  Chief Jamiu Talabi, President, Lagos Hoteliers Association (LHA), commended the government’s decision.

Talabi said that LHA at various organised forums usually emphasises to its members to stop lodging underage persons.

“Any hotelier in his or her right senses should know this is wrong, we have been reiterating this in our conferences, seminars. So, it is something we have always paid cognisance to.

“It is also against the ethics of our profession,” he said.

Talabi called on the Lagos State Government to expedite action in streamlining the multiple taxes given to hotel operators to pay.

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He also appealed to the state government to help in cushioning the effect of economic hardship on hoteliers, by giving grants.

“Lagos state came up with series of money driven agencies who are also supposed to be carrying out corporate social responsibilities like LASEPA, LASTMA and the safety commission.

“When they come for enforcement, they usually come with lorry loads of security men and this scares our customers. This is not normal in a civilised society.

“The state is always after revenue collection, they should also be concerned about business survival.

“Many of us are living from hand to mouth. We cannot even afford to pay N60,000 to our staff,  which is being proposed as minimum wage by government.

“Government is not encouraging us, we are not lazy, we will be happy if we gain access to grants. Taxes should come with a human face,” he said.

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