UNGODLY HOUR……..See Life After Midnight In Lagos

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UNGODLY HOUR……..See Life After Midnight In Lagos

UNGODLY HOUR……..See Life After Midnight In Lagos
May 22
17:52 2018


While many are asleep as nature dictates at midnight, life takes on a vibrant hue for others in different parts of the metropolis. For some, it is purely for business; for many others however, darkness provides the necessary cover for unbridled fun. TheCapital takes a look at what goes on in different parts of the city after midnight.

The rain had just stopped in the city of Lagos, leaving the streets damp and water-logged. A cold gust blew hither, thither. Darkness draped the city’s skyline: it was a few minutes past midnight. It was that time of the night when the hosts of heaven, having completed their daily protective cycle on humanity, reluctantly step aside for the hounds of hell whose turn it is to dictate the pace of grave immorality which occurs unhindered at that time.

Admiralty Way, the sprawling nerve-centre of activities in Lekki  Phase 1, was typically awash in bright lights providing illumination for night wanderers to manouever its precincts. For the uninitiated, the streets looked deserted and uneventful. But Adekunle Oni, a 35-year-old banker, knows what spots to hit in pursuit of unbridled fun and adventure.


Thank God it’s Friday, the singsong of unerring fun-seekers, escaped from his lips as he made a detour at the Lekki new bridge roundabout. He located a strip bar in a non-descript street off Admiralty where he is a regular. In fact, it is usually his first contact point after dark, serving as an appetizer for his voracious, even morbid form of letting his hairs down without inhibitions.

A recent phenomenon on the Lagos social map, strip bars have sprung up in various parts of the metropolis. In Lekki and Victoria Island alone, there are about four of such with different classes of clientele. Drinks are sold far above street prices. Beers, which are normally sold for N500 could go for as high as N2, 000. Really, the thrill for patrons is not to drink but to see young ladies of all hue dancing in their birthday suit and performing various sexual antics on a makeshift stage.

The lights are low inside but the vision of happenings is bright and beautiful, vivid and uncensored. One after the other, the ladies, butt-naked, bound on stage to outdo themselves in a wanton dance routine: dipping their fingers into their hallowed sanctum and licking it for effect. Occasionally, one of the girls would dip an empty bottle of coke into her womanhood, inducing gasps from the men. There are other such gasp-inducing moments.


With testosterone rock-solid and threatening to burst loose, patrons are known to ask for exclusive dance sessions ranging from N10,000 to N25, 000 depending on what the brief is. Interestingly, these routines are done in the open bar with other guests paying scant attention. Nobody cares about a couple bucking and clawing, though outright sex is not on the menu.

In some of these clubs, there are VIP sections where only privileged members have access to. A peep into the VIP section where Adekunle is a card-carrying member would rouse nostalgic feelings of Sodom and Gomorrah. Though real sex is said to be forbidden here too, but he confessed that he has a way of convincing the girls into the real act. “There is no way you would not want to have sex with these girls after they have bared it all. Money is the name of the game and since we understand the language, we play ball. All we do is to tip the bouncer at the door to keep his mouth shut and take his eyes away,” he said with a cynical look on his face.

In the last one year, agents of the state government have come down heavy on operators of these clubs.  Having satisfied his urge, he shifted base, opting for a night club in Lekki, one of the less exquisite ones around but with as much accompaniments as any around. The clientele here ranges from young, social upstarts who just happened on loose money and are ready to spend lavishly, to sex hawkers who throng there in large number. “Ashewo full here o (There are many prostitutes here),” says a curious passerby. Not surprisingly, this particular club opens everyday of the week.


However, a visit to  Afrika Shrine, located in the Central Business District of Alausa, Ikeja, was quite an experience. When this reporter got there around 1a.m few nights back, there was no sleep on the faces of the revelers cutting across all ages. They mingled and bubbled with reckless abandon. Owned by afro beat impresario and Grammy Awards-nominee, Femi Anikulapo Kuti, the shrine is a spin-off of his iconoclastic father, Fela’s original playground by the same name.

Interestingly, Femi’s Afrika Shrine has become a melting pot for adventure seekers or nocturnal fun lovers who prefer an environment where there are neither regulations nor benchmark as to the limit of fun they could have. Getting through the kaleidoscope of characters that dot the entrance to the shrine was a Herculean task. There are no gate fees to stem the influx of people, except for a sprinkling of bouncers who help to ensure law and order in an otherwise lawless arena.

Cars of varying shapes and sizes dot the length and breadth of the narrow street that has played host to the shrine for many years.

A familiar, pungent whiff pervaded the air. Youths, scruffy-looking individuals and many other interesting characters streamed in and out of the shrine. While some pitched their tent under a canopy stationed at the entrance bellowing smoke from jumbo-sized rolls of Indian hemp, some others just ambled about with their ‘joints’ not caring who was watching. They were in their own world; a world where Indian hemp otherwise known in their parlance as ‘Igbo’, Eja (Dried Fish), Marijuana, Weed, Indo, Morocco and Ganja among others, is a common staple.

The scenario was not any different inside the cavernous hall of the shrine. A few metres from the foot of the stage, two young ladies chatted away in a drunken stupor, their eyes literally smouldering while dragging on their roll of Indian hemp. They were completely oblivious to the goings on around them.

A few youngsters, equally stoned, banged on their tables and empty bottles of beer and sang on the improvised beat. It is a no man’s land. Inside the hall, a pungent Indian hemp smoke hovered thickly. Popular Nigerian music blared at a deafening decibel as doe-eyed loyalists tottering on the brink of inebriation, danced wildly and relentlessly.

It was a raucous scene that the Lagos in-crowd and jet-set would not find too inviting. But Dr. Brown Emmanuel who lives in the neighbourhood says the animated atmosphere that characterizes the shrine at night and during the day, is the appeal for him: “Despite everything, there is law and order here and you hardly see fights breaking out. The Kutis have enshrined a disciplinary measure that prevents unprovoked aggression.”

24-year-old Nkiru, an undergraduate, also calls the shrine home many nights because “There is no place like it in Lagos or anywhere in Nigeria.” What Nkiru means perhaps is that there is no standard venue for the brazen sale of Indian hemp which is the main attraction really.For Sani Ahmed, a petty trader, he says he sells much more in the night, especially at night when a mishmash of fun lovers converges on the shrine.

In his virtually indecipherable northern accent, he said, “I have more customers at night here (Afrika Shrine). Many people come to me to buy cigarettes and soft drinks because it is very expensive inside. I sell my own at the normal price and I sell everything,” he said. Similarly, a food vendor nearby disclosed that the peak of her business is well after midnight when the frantic search for anything potent to douse the effect of alcohol is intense. Hot food comes to the rescue, and she makes brisk business.

A young man, in his late 20s, disclosed that there is no better, more secured environment to indulge in this act than at the Shrine. “We are always at home here; no disturbance of any sort. Even the people who come here to smoke comport themselves in a gentlemanly manner. This is so because this place is a leveler, we are all here for the same purpose,” he said.

At inception, smoking and sales were restricted to the fringes of the shrine. However, as time went by, the barrier was broken and it became an over-the-counter commodity. Now, the shrine is unarguably one of the few places where the sale of Indian hemp is deregulated and its consumption unrestrained.

Even more brisk business goes on at Obafemi Awolowo Way , opposite the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja. The open shops are veritable restaurants which only open at night, with more customers perhaps. An assortment of menu is on display and people cluster around to make purchases till the wee hours of the midnight.

As it is in Ikeja, so it is in Surulere where the precinct of the National Stadium metamorphoses into a carnival-like atmosphere every night. Thanks to O’jez Restaurant owned by Joseph Odobeatu, an engineer and avid sports lover but managed by Chinese restaurateurs. In the last couple of years, it has become the ideal leisure spot for popular Nigerian entertainers who stay out all night without any fear of intimidation or insecurity.
If the pace of life on the mainland is measured and predictable, it is intense and pliable on the Island. There are hangouts for the rich and the very rich; the upwardly mobile and nouveaux riches. Interestingly, they never default in casing these places on a nightly basis. The Island – straddling Victoria Island , Ikoyi, Lekki and Ajah – never sleeps because that is when its pretension to prosperity is validated.

Indeed, the difference between the Island and the mainland assumes a life of its own inside those swanky clubs and plush watering holes where drinks are sold at exorbitant prices. A bottle of Moet (Rose) goes for as high as N40, 000 – N50, 000 while the regular Moet sells for between N30, 000 and N700, 000 depending on which club you choose.

Beers are a virtual no-no for the big boys because Islanders do not live by the rules; they create their own rules and terms of enjoyment. They don’t do anything by half measures; they go all the way. Beside the ostentation inside VIP sections of clubs where the very well-heeled are sequestered, another form of gaudiness is on display outside.

The most expensive cars on Nigerian roads can be found here. Sometimes, it seems that Islanders deliberately wait until midnight to drive their best cars. Pray, what really is the allure for moving around at night when it is believed that supernatural creatures of darkness haunt with ferocious potency?

A psychologist at the University of Lagos says this tendency is not the exclusive preserve of Lagosians; “Everywhere in the world, people prefer the cover of darkness to socialize. Besides, night clubs, like the name suggests, operates only at night. People are supposed to work during the day and have fun or sleep at night.

It does not harm the body, rather dancing relaxes the nerves and it is a form of exercise.” Adekunle said if the strip bars he frequents operate during the day then he would not be their patron.

Good enough, the Lagos State government is helping to ensure that moving around at night is unencumbered by putting in place measures to ensure the security of lives and properties for Lagosians as security agents are on patrol round the clock while some are stationed in strategic areas of the metropolis.

It was 5.30am at QuiloxClub , Victoria Island and there was no sign of fatigue on the faces of fun lovers as the streaks of dawn seeped through the skies

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