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GRIDLOCK: The Changing Lifestyles Of Apapa Night Crawlers

Apapa seaport and wharf environment, normally wears a different outlook in the nights. The sharp difference between the nightlife and daylight is of great significance.

In the day, the ever busy port activities cum commercial operations notable of every entreport the world over is always a common view. Night is a different ball game, with all the paraphernalia of red light districts internationally. The different hotels and motels easily come to view, with their attendant patronage of customers of all sizes including captains, seafarers, pimps and call girls of all sizes.

The crux of the matter is, hoteliers, night crawlers and other members of the public positively believe in the financial capacity of the Apapa environment because of its location by the seaport/entreports and the federal presence. In Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria there are: the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigeria Customs Commands, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, maritime government agencies and Private sector firms, among others. Thus, monies are believed to be heavily – exchanged  during this period of the night when all forms of business activities take place, both legitimately and otherwise.

Most sailors, especially foreign seafarers and their captains, likewise other officials, love to unwine or relax themselves during this period. Similar to what obtains in LAS-Vegas in the USA. The neon lights, the pepper soup joints, the skimpy miniskirts girls showcasing their variegated anal cum human portraiture for all and sundry to especially those who will be attracted to them and simultaneously pay the attendant fees attached, always add colour to the activities of the night. Furthermore, numerous pimps and body guards and other makeshift security officers are always abound to effect security activities in the neighbourhoods, mostly commercialized. though, official security patrol from members of the police department (area B) are often present with their patrol vans, combing the nooks and crannies of the red  light districts to ward off trouble shooters or hoodlums from obstructing the whole commercial process.

Worthy of note is the night club called DORRIS. This is a mini bar/music centre that is grossly patronized by lots of night crawlers in the Apapa environment. This club is noted for its latest/current jams or music, likewise young and attractive ladies that frolic the club. It is known to habour or accommodate young beautiful ladies from neighbouring countries like LIBERIA, GHANA, and COTONOU. It could be because the owner of the club Ms Dorris, is a Liberian resident and based in Nigeria.

The height of the matter is that till today and from inception, the night life at Apapa remains a continuum. It is growing in lips and bounds with different modus –operandi, regardless of both natural threat, government policies and economic recession. The red light districts, especially at Apapa, refuses to fade-out.

What readily comes to the mind of all customers and on lookers is the ultimate desire to unwine or cool – off their worries after a very  tedious endeavour at office factory,  warehouse, barracks or at sea, as the case maybe.

This not-withstanding, the ever present grid-locks as a result of new road constructions and other infrastructural face-lifts in the Apapa environment is grossly affecting the night-life at Apapa. This grid-lock, has led to many companies and port activities relocate to other areas of the city that are less pressured with traffic problems.

Thus, most hoteliers and companies are bitter about poor patronage. A particular “call girl” named “Precious” protested that the deliberate neglect of delay in constructing the roads of Apapa is making life difficult for them. she boasted that during boom periods, before the era of grid-locks, she could boast of N50, 000 per day, customers who want to have her for the night normally pays N10, 000 or more per night, while for a “shot-time” she collects nothing less than N3, 000 per servicing (round).

Likewise, a particular hotelier/night club, “RITZE CAFE” owner. He enthused that with the grid -lock, patronage has diminished drastically at the Apapa entreports. Most foreign sailors, local and international workers cum business-men no longer patronize their outfits. This is so because business activities have reduced in the vicinity because of the very poor traffic situation.

Most residents and companies are relocating to other areas of Lagos, where traffic flow is accessible, worthy and free-flow. Thus, they are grossly affected thereby encouraging most of them to start relocating elsewhere into neigbouring areas like Olodi-Apapa, and Ajegunle-Apapa, Lagos.

Though most of them still have their branch hotels/motels including night clubs retained at Apapa hoping the grid-lock issue will soon become a thing of the past.

Invariably, referring to the promises made by the present All Progressives Congress(APC) regime about decongesting or phasing-out the “grid-locks” with the current  rail projects linking-the ports with “standard-gauge” rail-lines that will convey all heavy duty trucks/containers via the rails under the present “Lagos-Ibadan” standard gauge projects that is presently under going construction vis-à-vis road construction.

Thus, the “nightlife” entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in the entertainment/relaxation world are hopeful that soonest, the neon lights in the red-light districts of Apapa entreports shall rise again.

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