At midnight, at the time one of the most notorious night clubs in Abuja was at the peak of its operation, one of the club’s neighbours, a woman, at an advanced stage of pregnancy, couldn’t sleep due to the loud musical sound that engulfed the entire neighborhood. She approached the club owner to be merciful, by reducing the sound for her to have some relief, in view of her difficult condition. Instead of being sympathetic, she received a very cold response, that, they can’t disrupt their business because of her. She had to bear such ordeal while living in the neighbourhood, up to the time of her delivery.
For some of the City residents, nightlife in Night Clubs around the city is fun and their fundamental rights as free citizens. While for many others, the activities of the fun seekers in night clubs around their neighbourhoods are gruesome experience, tribulations, violations, or infringements of their rights, while they relax and rest at nights, in their homes. Yet, for others it is a source of income, making money by establishing such clubs, irrespective of the violations of development guidelines and the discomfort and complains from the residents of the neighbourhood.
It is for the avoidance of these types of conflicts and for the purpose of peaceful and harmonious coexistence, that compatibility of land uses is made a cardinal principle everywhere in modern Town Planning. Abuja City as a National Capital cannot be an exception, rather it should exhibit excellence. Areas of residential, commercial, industrial, recreational, employment, and all other land uses are separated from each other and are reflected clearly in the title deeds of all allocations. In special cases of mixed land uses, the requirements are also clearly specified.
Thus, in all the incidences where similar conflicts as above occur, one of the conflicting parties must have violated the development requirements. In all of the ones documented in the Capital City at the Development Control Department, the night club operators, rather than the owners of the residential houses, are the violators. Almost all the night clubs in Abuja are illegally located in residential areas, in violation of not only the purposes specified in their letters of allocation but also the approved plans for development. In a specific instance, a night club was operated in a plot earmarked as a neighbourhood clinic, denying health benefits to the residents. Such is the extent of the insensitivity and arrogance of these owners.
Packets of misinformation are peddled by the night club owners and their sympathizers, that no provision is made for night clubs in the city land use plan. There has never been any of such discrimination; otherwise, the Authority would have since clamped-down on the existing night clubs and lounges in the major hotels in the city.
This is an activity that is alien to our cultures, if we must copy it from where it is practiced, we must also not jettison the safeguards for the mitigations of their adverse consequences. We must also observe the rules governing their establishments by the originators themselves. According to the contention of insensitive and shallow minds, night clubs are operated in the midst of residential areas, because the authorities did not declare a red zone area, where it is to be practiced. The fact is that, it is not necessary to make such declaration, so long as there is a facility approved for use for the activity, that is the Abuja version of the so-called red zone.
The activity reaches its peak at the middle of the night. Within the precinct, the cover of the night provides breeding grounds as well as incubators for the hatching of criminal activities. These are where cars are bugled and stolen, hard drugs are openly peddled, criminals hide and plan to strike and where indecent exposure and nude dancing has impunity. All these are susceptible to corrupting the vulnerable age group, when practiced in residential areas.
The fact is that there is no responsible person who feels that persons abusing their privacies have fundamental human rights, as free citizens to do so, and would allow his sons or daughters or any of his blood relations, to also be engaged, and would sit back comfortably without being forced, watching the illicit performance, in the name of so-called fun-seeking. I am very sure not even the Club owners themselves. But they can lure and use innocent girls to make money.
The Abuja land-use plan made provision for night clubs to be operated in hotels, for the purpose of containing the adverse externalities associated with their operations. Thus, anybody that wants to operate a night club must acquire a hotel plot. This is because the hotel has internal facilities to contain the adverse externalities, such as the security, planned car parks, on-street parking that obstruct free movement of traffic in the night, susceptible to aiding and abetting a crime. Most importantly, it is removed from residential areas where peace and serenity of residents at night are threatened by loud musical noise that disturbs the comfort of residents at night. A typical example was that of the pregnant neighbour.