•Sex workers groan, pub owners lament
By Elizabeth Adegbesan
Nigerians are regarded as the happiest people on earth. Another place in Africa likened to Nigeria, in terms of enjoyment and nightlife activity is Capetown where nightlife is riveting and unforgettable.
Despite consistently being reported as a country where most people live below the poverty line, Nigerians still find time to flex.
However, it appears the rate of nightlife in Lagos is drastically dropping. And, like the popular saying, “Lagos is mini Nigeria ‘’. The city provides a perfect barometer to gauge the pulse of the whole country in terms of high nightlife.
Nightlife in Lagos was dealt a dead blow by the covid-19 pandemic where everybody was forced to a lock down. Insecurity, occasioned by insurgents like boko haram and bandits also added to the mix.
Now both sex workers and pub (beer parlor) operators; a combo that thickens nighlife anywhere in the world are crying.
Some of them who spoke to Economy&Lifestyle said business is no longer as usual. Men, who spend the bulk of the money that lightens up nightlife, are becoming wiser. Judicious spending has become a hallmark for otherwise well known free spenders in the clubs and pubs. Tight economy has resetted the spending culture and free money no longer circulates.
One of the sex workers nicknamed Lady P said the number of men patronizing her have continued to drop, even after the easing of lockdown. She noted that even some of her colleagues who operate on a higher level are not left out in the down time.
“I have spent most of my adolescent years in this job. I have never witnessed a thing like this. Men don’t visit us like before. Those that patronize us like three times a week now visit once a week or two weeks. Even those who call themselves professionals; who service big men in big hotels are also complaining.
“Before now, when some of these men pick me, we used to visit beer parlors or clubs before retiring for the real business. But, now, they will just go straight for business. After Covid’19 lockdown, I increased my service fee to N3, 000 per night from N2000. For ‘short time’ I increased it to N1,500 from N1,000. The state of the Nigerian economy has made men start cutting their coats to the size of their cloth. I am just tired of the hustle. To even pay my rent is very difficult, which wasn’t the case in 2019. I am still thinking of what to do with my life because I can’t meet up with most of my expenses anymore”, she said.
Chiamaka Onuoha, a pub owner, confirmed the low patronage of customers in beer parlors saying: “My sister, this is a very baffling situation I am witnessing since my eight years in this business. Men patronize this beer parlour everyday. Before this period, we have not closed earlier than 10.00 or 11.00pm. But now, anything after 9.00 pm, this place will become a ghost of itself.
Since the ease of lockdown, the patronage of men to beer parlors has reduced. Most of my customers have lamented the continuous increase in the prices of beer. Some of them who used to consume five to six bottles of beer to get to their fill hardly do half of that number now. They now take one or two bottles and leave the joint in frustration,” he lamented.
However, while some men are running away from the nightlife due to increasing price of drinks and services of sex workers, Olumide Saraki, a bus conductor said sachet alcoholic drinks have provided an alternative.
He said: “I used to patronize beer parlors a lot and even if I didnt have money to buy drinks, the crowd there and the discussions we used to have were major attractions. But lately, the crowd has gone down, maybe because not everybody can afford to drink to satisfaction let alone buying for another.
“However, because in this our job, you need to be high, I now get my fill from satchet drinks. I feel they are the same and also come cheap. The only thing I miss is the gist and arguments which can only happen in a crowded beer parlor”
Checks by Economy& Lifestyle shows that a bottle of Trophy, Life Star or Hero lager beer, which used to sell at N250, is now N450 in some local pubs and can go as high as N600 to N1000 in pubs located in high brow areas.
Same also for Guiness Stout, Heiniken which used to be N300 and N400 respectively. Today, they go as high as N700, N1000 and more, respectively, depending on the area the pubs selling them are located.