Women of virtue, including housewives and those single ladies who qualify as girlfriends, are in a happy mood this season.
While married women are rejoicing that their husbands no longer leave their homes for drinks and quickies in the evenings around the Casablanca district, young girls who hope someday to hook up with men of their dreams are heaving sighs of relief.
All kinds of exotic clubs, from The Planet, Higi Haga to the Cubana brand have sprung up. More are coming. They are under construction.
Proprietors who are developing these structures are hoping to cash into Port Harcourt’s booming hospitality sector.
All of a sudden, GRA Phase II has become a haven of some sort. A place where high brow players reside has gradually transformed into a business district.
Shops that sell everything, from designer clothes to exotic wines and spirits adorn the landscape.
The silence expected of a low density area is punctuated at night by music supplied by the nightclubs.
For crawlers in Port Harcourt, Phase II is the place to be. The setting of the pubs, the other businesses which are striving, remind the one who ventures into the Garden City that he has stepped foot in Nigeria’s oil capital.
Until the Wike ban was announced, traffic jams were experienced by motorist and commuters who go through the Casablanca district.
At night, most who are familiar with GRA Phase II will readily agree, traffic has reduced persistently to a crawling pace as men and women who make hay at night take up available spaces by the roadside.
Women dressed in all kinds of gear, from the skimpy to the evening dress crawl around the joints.
Some are hookers, some are decent, but their presence and their wiggling waistlines as well as the animated chatter across the table make the difference.
“Make no mistake”, a guy told the Telegraph, “Those waistlines, faces, gait and poise, are the major attraction as daylight gives way to an evening of bubbling light and fun.”
In contrast, since the order to vacate the streets was given by the Wike administration, traffic is beginning to flow freely.
Road users who spent precious time trying to connect to Abacha Road say the burden is lighter.
Others who go beyond Abacha Road, Ada George and beyond are even happier. They are spending less time to get home..
At the home front, there is some jubilation. Husbands who exploit the sense of security that GRA Phase II exudes, are staying back.
While some see the ban as an unwelcome distraction and an assault on individual rights and freedom, others say that in view of the spread of the latest variant of the Coronavirus, what the government has done is in order.
Rivers State has recorded an increase of late in the number of Coronavirus cases. From the Delta vibrant, the Omicron vibrant is becoming easily transmissible.
More than a hundred cases per day were recorded as 2021 bowed out. In the public space, there has been a decline in the use of face masks.
The protocol that prescribes social distancing has been largely ignored. Social distancing, experts say, helps to minimize the extent of transmission of the virus.
Insiders say concerns over the spread. Of the virus may have driven the State Government to take a step.
Pressure on health facilities need to be curtailed, one health expert hints, and government officials reckon preventive action may prove a useful tool in combating the Corona.
Wives and girlfriends who hope to start a family of their own are happier at this time as a result of the momentary ban.
A Housewife, Mrs Juliet E, who spoke to our reporter remarked, ” My hubby is a fine, handsome, nice and caring man”, she says, “but each time he returns home these days, he looks tired and withdrawn. You know what that means.
“I have tried to manage my man and my family. I know my man works hard. I know it is not work alone that is responsible. There are other reason no matter what he says.”
Madam Jumbo noted, “how do you blame men in this city for the kind of things these women with loose values do out there to lure them?
“Some even use all kinds of means, including juju, to hold down their victims and turn away the attention of men from their families.
“Prayers have kept my family together”, she reveals, “I go on my knees everyday. Kai! How can I allow these hawks to break up my home? Anyone who would want to destroy my home… Holy Ghost fire!
Celina is a hardworking young lady. She dreams to have her dream man too. She seems to have found one in Joe. Joe is a banker and an eligible bachelor.
“Joe is my idea of an ideal man, but he is a crawler. Outside that, he is fun to be with. Before now, we used to go together to places around Casablanca.
“Now he says his future wife shouldn’t be found in such places. Why does he still go there?
“I thank Wike ooo! At least those sharpshooters will leave my man alone. Wike should not lift the ban no matter the pressure.”
“Thank God for Wike”, Ngozi told the Telegraph, “my own husband now stays more at home since the ban on nightlife was placed around Casablanca area.,’
For Igonma and others like her, they bring joy to hearts that yearn for fun. People want a feeling of home away from hope and these ladies outside the home offer a helping hand..
“Na time Wike dey waste;. Na true say I dey hustle, but I get correct man wey like me. I no care whether him marry.
“I be human being. I suppose happy na. Na my fault say I dey like dis? Me too, I need person wey I go cry for him shoulder. Na my own worse pass?”
“I have finished school. It has been several years, yet no work”, a lady who maintains a plat at Agip Estate remarked.
‘How to survive has turned me into a runs girl. Wike should know he is hurting people who are struggling to survive.
“We have family to look after, needs to meet. We may not operate on the streets, but we have phone numbers. This means, we are still in touch.’
The ban continues. It is clear that fun seekers who throng GRA Phase II must be hunting for new grounds.
In time, they may find new joints to exploit, new grounds to relax, new faces to meet. In the meantime life in the Garden City continues.
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