Being the seat of government and epicenter of political activities, civil servants, businessmen and women, as well as other social activities drive the economic life of the city during the day.
Nightlife is, however, reserved for people who are more active at night and those who, perhaps, love to take advantage of the beautiful and serene locations in different parts of Abuja to relax and explore the beauty of the city.
Night activities in Abuja are not different from what is obtainable elsewhere in Nigeria, only that Abuja enjoys “executive” patronage from “big” politicians and other captains of industry that hold sway in Abuja.
The presence of these politicians in Abuja is expected to double as activities that would herald the choice of political leaders in 2019 gain momentum. They patronise nightclubs, commercial sex workers, pimps, roadside food vendors, eateries and other services.
Utako, Jabi and Garki districts, as well as Adetokunbo Ademola and Aminu Kano crescents in Wuse 2 are some of the notable locations that come alive at night, especially during the weekend.
Motorists and passers-by struggle to find their way through these locations due to large presence of commercial sex workers who device different means to attract the attention of the available customers.
In the recent past, the night-time “trade” reached a peak such that it became an embarrassment and security threat to the FCT, prompting the FCT administration to set up a task force to clear the city of these people, but little or no success was achieved.
Investigations by Daily Sun have also confirmed that low patronage has hit nightlife and associated services in Abuja for a number of reasons.
Negative changes in the economic fortunes of Abuja residents was at the centre of the development. Economic realities in Nigeria have forced people to adjust their way of life, prioritising “needs” instead of “wants.”
Findings further revealed that many members of Pentecostal churches engage in annual spiritual exercise every January, which compels them to abstain from sex, alcohol and other immoralities for a few weeks.
It was further observed that, aside from lack of money in hands of many people, increase in crime, especially car theft, as a result of high youth unemployment, has also contributed to discourage some fun-seekers from visiting the fun spots at night.
Commercial sex workers that hitherto relied on regular patronage for their fortunes have continued to lament because of the significant drop in available clients.
Some of them told Abuja Metro that things have gone from bad to worst, as evidenced in the streets that were hitherto busy with night activities now being almost deserted.
A trader, Musa Ibrahim, who sells cigarette, condoms and sex enhancement drugs at Chicken House junction on Adetokunbo Ademola crescent, told Abuja Metro that he has never experienced such a period of poor sales in recent times.
He said, “Nightlife in Abuja is going down gradually. People hardly turn out for night activities, unlike in few years ago. Each time I asked to know why they are not visible like before, their response is always that there is no money for such things. One even told me few weeks ago that he was fasting.
“Many married men that hitherto took cover in my tent every night to patronise commercial sex workers are nowhere to be found. The implication is that the girls would stand for hours with no one interested in them. It is indeed a ‘bad market’ for us.
“However, we are hopeful that there would be a change with Christmas fast approaching and political activities getting ready to kick off.”
Sandra Akerele, a customer to one of the gardens in Garki 2, Abuja, admitted that there was significant drop in the quality of life in Nigeria, largely due to harsh economic conditions, worsened by the bad economic policies of the Federal Government and other economic managers.
She said that most of her friends who were not financially stable have cut down on their high taste and generally trimmed their standard of living.
“It has reached a point that many of them rarely show up for our usual night outings,” she said.
Sandra added that: “Some of them have continued to give excuses of increase in crime in the city, but I know that their problem revolves around finances.”
Nevertheless, Sandra insisted that her standard of living has not been adversely affected, in spite of the recession that has drained the pockets of many Nigerians, particularly her male friends.
She said, “I have heard many people complain bitterly of unexpected hardship as a result of some economic policies of government. I could feel it but not as much as some of my friends do. I have been able to maintain my standard of living in spite of the hike in prices of goods and services.”
A taxi driver who identified himself as Onyeka blamed government for the economic hardship that has affected the quality of life of Nigerians.
“Before now, I used to start work as early as 5am and work till few hours after noon before I retired home to rest for several hours. I would resume by 5pm and work till late in the night and up to the early hours of the following day. But it has changed because people don’t come out anymore,” he said.
He challenged the federal government to address the economic issues in the country so that people could have access to money to “oil” their lives.
Meanwhile, a staffer of a renowned strip club in Utako, Abuja, who pleaded anonymity, reinforced the lamentation that nightlife in Abuja has dwindled significantly.
She said: “Most of my customers have stopped visiting for reasons I could not explain. I started calling and texting them at some point, but only a few showed up.
“Some said they were engaged in New Year spiritual exercise, which compels them to fast and pray, and also abstain from sex and alcohol. Others blamed the economic policies of government that have inflicted more pains and poverty on Nigerians. “
For Jerry, the manager of a bar located on Aminu Kano Crescent, Abuja, the business side of nightlife, from the perspective of business owners, has been even more bitter.
“My brother, I must confess to you that business is bleeding. People don’t come out like before, when Buhari was not the President. It has affected our business significantly to the point that some workers were sacked for no offence,” he said.
On the contrary, Godwin, the manager of a nightclub in Gwarimpa, was full of praise to God for his faithfulness.
“My business has been recording profits amid the barrage of complaints by my contemporaries,” he said.
He noted that he has re-strategised for the increased inflow of customers this year: “Remember that 2018 is more like election year. Many people will visit Abuja for one political meeting or the other, and they would love to chill out after the event.”