In most of the major cities of the world, socio-economic activities take place round the clock. This is especially true in developed countries. A 24-hour economy is one in which business or pleasure does not stop because its nighttime. Sadly, Lagos nightlife has been in reverse gear for several decades. But change is here.
Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, casinos, or ‘joints’ as they are called in Lagos, do more business after the sun sets. This is definitely true in Lagos where citizens hustle through the week non-stop. Lagosians need to unwind in the evenings and especially at weekends.
But, Lagos nightlife is not fulfilling its economic potential largely because of security concerns. Outside of the main streets in highbrow areas, most middle class Lagosians will simply rather stay home. Of course, patrons of Obalende and Oju Elegba may have contrary views!
But, Mr. Ambode is looking to change this. The vision of the Akinwunmi Ambode administration is to make Lagos State Africa’s Model Megacity. It is to be the economic, financial, and entertainment centre in the sub region. But this is only possible if people feel safe enough to do business at night, or simply go out knowing that it is safe to do so.
Last year therefore, the Governor met with individuals and corporate organisations that made commitments in cash and kind towards advancing a safer Lagos.
At the event, which was a brainchild of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), over N1billion was raised as cash donations. The donations came from various corporate organisations and individuals while others made commitments to provide vital technical support.
An integral part of the Ambode administration’s renewed plan to step up security in the state is to fortify the Rapid Response Squad (RRS). This is in addition to establishing an integrated security and emergency control platform. The control and command centre in Alausa, Ikeja will have an interface with other security networks through surveillance cameras.
Security is at the very centre of Ambode’s bid to turn Lagos into a 24/7 economy. Since we now live in an ICT driven world, the government is working on a scheme to incorporate technology into its security system. Through this scheme, all of Lagos can be electronically monitored.
With this initiative, the rate of crime in the state will be effectively checkmated while safety of life and property would also be guaranteed. With these measures, a successful 24/7 economy in Lagos will be a reality.
In 10 years, Lagos should have a more balanced mix of revellers with more over 40’s embracing Lagos nightlife. On the other hand, there should also be more businesses outside of entertainment, confident enough to open 24 hours a day.
This is why the Ambode government is encouraging retailers and attractions to stay open late to broaden people’s choices of nighttime activities. By 2025, the state hopes to double its 24/7 economy turnover. It also expects to increase employment by 55% through the creation of new jobs.
So far, the RRS seem to have stemmed the activities of night time criminals. It is hoped that it stays this way to allow the overnight economy fully develop in Lagos.