“Gimbiya is a busy street, no doubt about that. We have hotels, clubs and sometimes some of these girls stray into the street to catch the attention of men”
Fred Ezeh & Samuel Bello
It might sound strange, but there is no contesting the fact that Gimbiya Street in Abuja knows no sleep. Located in Garki Area 11, the street could be described as a place that witnesses all round activities – epicenter of business in the day and hyper social interactions at night.
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During the day corporate offices and businesses located in the street attract thousands of people that way. But the street goes up in wild social activities at night, with the aid of a good number of hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and other entertainment centers on the street.
Commercial sex workers, hawkers of condoms, cigarettes, whisky, marijuana, drugs and other hard substances take over the street at night. Hard drugs, condoms are being traded in the open, while commercial sex workers adopt different skills to attract the attention of drivers and other interested persons. The activities peak at weekends when more people converge on the street to catch fun.
Loud sound of music and live musical performances from different nightclubs envelope the entire street, and possibly deny the residents the opportunity to catch some sleep. Residents confessed that these have obviously affected the moral lives of their children and teenagers especially those not in boarding school.
Unfortunately, these actions are freely done in the open under the watch of policemen who in most times mount checkpoint to monitor people and vehicular movement. Daily Sun gathered that house owners have written several letters of complaint to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) over the frustration they face in the street. But little or no response was received.
A resident, Lucky, who also worships at First Baptist Church, said they have requested the FCTA to put a stop to the immoral activities but that has been difficult for the officials to do: “How do you describe a situation where we would be holding vigil and night prayer meetings and commercial sex workers would be hanging around our gate and walls beckoning on potential customers? It is absurd and insult on God.”
A senior FCTA official pleaded anonymity claimed that reason for the seeming lack of response from relevant FCTA agencies has more to do with economic than other considerations. He disclosed that the tax returns being made by nightclub and restaurant operators, as well as some interests cannot be ignored. He said even in developed countries some locations or streets are known for such social activities:
“Gimbiya is a busy street, no doubt about that. We have hotels, clubs and sometimes some of these girls stray into the street to catch the attention of men. We cannot because of that close down the street especially when these business outfits pay their taxes. There is no country where you don’t have some streets being known for certain things.”
Emmanuel Domingo, a recent visitor to Abuja shared his experience: “I arrived Abuja very late on a fateful Thursday night for a business meeting. I was to spend some days at a friend’s new place but he became unreachable few minutes after I arrived.
“I decided to hang somewhere pending when I could reach him. As time went by, someone suggested and directed me to Gimbiya Street. I stayed by the poolside of one of the hotels and requested for a beer.
“For the hours I spent there nursing my beer, I could hear music of different genres playing loudly from different parts of the street, even though where I sat was hidden. I was baffled by the level of social activities on the street.
“I was forced to pass a night in the hotel because I could not reach my friend. Regrettably, it was difficult for me to catch a sleep in the room because of loud noise from the sit-out centers and nightclubs. That was the level of frustration/experience I had in Gimbiya Street, Abuja.”
On the contrary, a customer at a popular restaurant who identified himself as Osas, said he is fine with the high social activities in the street: “I don’t stay around the street. But if occasion requires me to lodge here, I won’t have problems. I will be fine. The noise and social disturbance are not that much of a problem as people painted it. One could actually sleep well if you close your windows and put on the air conditioner.
“I visit here most times to listen to the live bands and good music and watch girls dance till sometimes 2am. They also go naked sometimes and I enjoy it. I also patronize them when the need arises.”