BY GABRIEL ABATAN
YOUTHS in Lagos are again in festive mood and they are organising end of year parties, also known as, street jamz or carnival, in several communities to get together and mark the end of the year, their own way.
Although some community youths choose to have the party on their streets, some entertainment groups, hotels, in conjunction with some corporate organizations now organize parties for them in community halls, hotels, event halls, and other formal social gathering centers to ensure security during the party.
This kind of party is common in areas like Surulere, Ikeja, Maryland, Festac Town, Ikoyi, and so on, where gate fees are charged depending on the area, nature of the party and the organizers. Gate fees start from N2, 500 and above while considerations are made for doubles. At this kind of party, celebrities are invited to thrill the crowd.
Meanwhile, youths who can not afford such luxury, resort to having theirs in the open street where they have freedom to do whatever they liked. The youths, with ages ranging from 16 to 35, are mostly boys who live low street lifestyles.
Mapping out strategies
Just like any standard party, the youths map out strategies to have a fun filled gyration during the carnival. Such plans preceding the jamz include choosing suitable date for the celebration, choosing strategic theme for the carnival, sourcing for fund, decorating the streets as well as inviting local musicians and entertainers to keep the place lively.
One noticeable thing carried out by these youths during this season is their near aggressive methods of sourcing funds for the jamz.
Days preceding the D-day, the youths block driveway and collect money from car owners, commuters, Okada riders, and sometimes passerby. To some communities, they employ a more friendly way of doing this by hailing “suspected donors”, and pestering them until they “drop something”.
A survey round some communities in Lagos, like Orile Iganmu, Ijora, Aguda, Igando, Akesan, Ikotun, Ajegunle, Amukoko and Isolo, however showed that some of the themes for the street jamz are mouth-gagging as the they suggest expected atrocities to be committed during the party.
Few of them include; ‘Bo pata e’ – remove their underwear, “Kukere Night”, “Osele Day”, “Ma woju e”, “Kerewa Night”, “Gyrate till mum calls”, “Xmas Combat” etc.
Usually, the date for the jamz is during the heart of the yuletide season like Dec 24th to January 5th. However, others choose more convenient date far into the new year. For instance, Alafia Street, in Amukoko, a suburb area in Lagos, chose January 27th for their street jamz.
Explaining the choice of the date, Ikechukwu Ezeaka, a resident of the street said, by then those who have traveled would have come back from their villages and there would be a full house during that time.
Another reason for this, according to Ezeaka, is that those who have spent their money during the Christmas and new year celebrations would have gotten some money for the celebration by then.
Meantime, the street jamz which normally holds nocturnally from 8pm ‘till mum calls’ as some organizers termed it usually featured a lot of excesses from the partying youths.
Some of the atrocities committed are not far fetched as there is freedom to do whatever one likes. The essence of the party is forgotten and some over adventurous youths are being initiated into hooliganism, gangsterism, prostitution, drug addiction, robbery, etc, during such parties as some “area boys” banked on their innocency to corrupt them.
There is also likelihood of rape cases to be recorded during such gatherings, as culprits overpower their victims after drinking excess alcohol during the jamz.
Several cases have been recorded of young girls who were raped just because they were at wrong places, all in the name of having fun.
Another prevalent crime committed during such street jamz is the riotous acts from such youth who are prone to violence at any time. Worse still, they use improvised weapons like bottles, cutlass, clubs, sticks, irons, etc, which are hand at such gatherings, to create indelible marked on their opponents during the fight, which often times lead to death of either parties.