The Senior Divisional Officer of Mfoundi, Emmanuel Mariel Djikdent, is threatening to “definitively” close down bars and discotheques that are too noisy in Yaounde.
This decision could be taken if it is established that these establishments do not respect safety rules, that there is noise pollution or public order violations. “There are regulations governing the operation of drinking establishments. Closing times must be respected and one must also respect the neighborhood, the respect of the least hygiene and measures. We have drinking establishments that lack even toilets, to the point where customers relieve themselves in the open air,” the administrative authority told national radio.
The latter brought together the presidents of unions or associations of tenants of drinking establishments and managers of leisure establishments (commonly called nightclubs) on Wednesday 17 August to remind them of the regulations governing their sector of activity and invite them to comply. “We have asked all the owners to have toilets, to respect the closing hours and to comply with the regulations. Those who have to operate until 6am must obtain permission from the Ministry of Tourism,” he said. Emmanuel Mariel Djikdent also insisted on safety standards, especially in nightclubs.
“You have establishments that do not have emergency exits. Imagine that there is a fire? The sanctions here could go as far as permanent closure,” he added. Last January, a fire in a nightclub in the Bastos district officially killed 18 people. The lack of emergency exits was blamed. Following this tragedy, the Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute, instructed the various competent administrations to ensure that all places of entertainment that are regularly open to the public comply with standards and the law.
In Cameroon, the decree of 9 November 1990 laying down the conditions and modalities for the operation of drinking establishments sets the opening and closing hours of these establishments: from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. for take-away sales, and from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. for sales for consumption on the premises. However, these establishments often go beyond the authorized hours and are particularly known for their noise pollution. The regulations therefore authorize prefectures to close down pubs and establishments playing music when they are the cause of such nuisances.
According to Article 20, “the sub-prefect or the territoriality competent prefect, as the case may be, shall proceed with the definitive withdrawal of the license to operate a public house of the establishment in question, in the event of cessation of activity, bankruptcy or liquidation, and, in general, in the event of violation of the provisions of the present decree.
If this measure is not new in Yaounde, the prefecture has decided this time to move up a gear against noisy night establishments, “in view of the multiple reports of late closing of drinking establishments, denunciations of cases of noise pollution, night disturbances and neighborhood disturbances recorded in the neighborhoods,” according to Emmanuel Mariel Djikdent.