Owerri Nightlife Comes Back With A Bang As Insecurity Fades Away


Owerri, a city renowned for its vibrant nightlife, is witnessing a gradual reawakening of its nighttime activities, despite the perceived security challenges that have cast a shadow over the southeast region. Local residents and businesses are demonstrating remarkable resilience, determined to revive the city's once-thriving after-dark scene.

The security challenges that have affected Imo State in recent times have undoubtedly impacted Owerri's nightlife, prompting many establishments to reduce their operating hours or temporarily close their doors. Nevertheless, the spirit of unity and resilience that characterizes the city's residents is shining through as they are working with the government of Governor Hope Uzodimma to overcome adversity.

A visit to the state shows that everyday celebration is creeping back. Nightlife in the state is no longer what it used to be. In the recent past, nightlife was almost nonexistent due to insecurity. The people of the state started enjoying nightlife because of the availability of street lights and affordable means of transportation to move around at night, as well as adequate security. A good number of night joints and clubs have sprung up in the state, and most of the clubs operate on weekdays, especially Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with a considerable influx of guests.

Owerri, which is relatively dominated by civil servants and middle-class people, is now alive due to nighttime activities going on in the state every day. Our correspondent learnt that people hang out at wine bars and joints, where they drink and have fun with friends and families.

This writer observed that there are many joints where one can be entertained with hot delicacies, comedy, jokes, and general entertainment and they are mostly found in New Owerri and World Bank areas.

The popular spots in the city include Mimi Place, Rapour Hotels, Kilimanjaro, NV Lounge and Nightclub, Cubana, Port Harcourt City, Ibari-Ogwa Village, California Owerri, Winter Suite Hotel, De Angel's and Inner Bar, among others. Likewise, the popular restaurants in the city are Mama G Restaurant, Big Mummy Kitchen, Dawble Portion Restaurant, Julie's Launja, Kilimanjaro Fast-Food Restaurant, The Hive, Wideplains Restaurant, Crunchies Fast Food, Jevinik Restaurant Owerri, Chukas Place Restaurant and Bar, Rennys Foods, Sunic Foods and Hungry Man. 

These clubs and restaurants have become an iconic part of the city’s nightlife, drawing in both locals and tourists alike. From the pulsing lights, booming music, and stylish decor, these establishments offer a unique experience whether someone is looking for a wild night out with friends or a romantic evening. These places have something for everyone. They are known for their performances, with live DJs and bands playing a variety of genres, from Afrobeat to hip-hop.

And for those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, there are also plenty of lounges, bars and pubs to choose from. These establishments offer a more laid-back atmosphere, with comfortable seating and a more subdued music selection. No matter what type of atmosphere someone is looking for, Owerri is sure to provide an unforgettable experience with delicious food and drinks.

Nightlife in the city is booming despite the perceived insecurity in the state highly reported in the media. The city is a beautiful place to be with the people going about their normal businesses. These achievements have been attributed to Governor Uzodimma, who despite the threats and pockets of attacks by unknown gunmen, has ensured that there is relative peace and a conducive environment for people to go about their businesses.

The Governor has also demystified the Monday stay-at-home policy enforced by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) across the southeast region. Today, Owerri is one city in the region that is not observing the order because many businesses and corporate organisations operate fully with no hindrances.

One bar attendant in a hotel, Divine Ogbonna, praised the state government for making the hotel and restaurant business lucrative. He attributed this success to Governor Uzodimma, who has improved the city by providing adequate security and lighting up the streets. This has allowed people to easily carry out their businesses and move around.

According to Divine Ogbonna, since the state government decided to light up the city and provide adequate security, the hotel and nightlife business has started booming.

"Due to the government's intervention, joints and hotels are capitalizing on it to improve their businesses. Today, it is becoming difficult to book a room in hotels, particularly as from Fridays, due to the number of activities and programmes in the city," Ogbonna said.

Additionally, the presence of e-hailing businesses in the state is making movement at night very easy. A driver of one of the e-hailing companies, named Chibuzor, said he always prepares for night work every weekend. According to him, the nightlife in Owerri is a business of its own, and some drivers prefer to work at the weekends because that is when they would get passengers who are willing to move around at any price. 

"I make between N20,000 and N30,000 daily at night during weekends, unlike daytime when there are many drivers chasing few passengers. The environment is becoming good for us to operate, and the security agents are everywhere around the city. A lot of people that come here from outside of our state especially those from Lagos, Abuja and other places are always surprised to see a different situation from what it is on social media about our state. Many of them hire me as a driver, and they usually express shock about the reality on the ground that our state, especially Owerri is not a war zone like it is being portrayed," he said.

Another driver, Vincent Obinna, said since he started operating at night, he has never witnessed any form of attack or harassment and always operates without fear. He noted that many people in the city are comfortable moving around at night and once a driver knows the routes very well, he will always make a living from the business.

He said: “I always prepare myself for the weekends because it is a period to make more money. It is not that I don’t work during the day, but more passengers are booking for e-hailing drivers at night than in the daytime. During the day, many passengers prefer to use the shuttle buses or the regular taxis through traffic in many parts of the city. Still, at night it is easier for people to book our business because we are accessible.

“One of the things that encouraged me to start driving at night is the presence of security at some places we consider as dark spots and the street lights in almost all the major streets and roads at night. Apart from the presence of security agents and street lights, Governor Uzodimma has also fixed many roads in the metropolis, making it possible for us to always have a smooth ride across the city.”

In addition to the popular restaurants, there has been a surge in the number of local food vendors operating at night in the city, catering to the thriving nightlife scene. Mama Chika, a local food vendor located at the bustling Control Junction, shared her experience in the night food business. According to her, in the past three years, she has never gone home without selling all of the food she had prepared.

She said the street lights at the junction have given people the confidence to come out at night and patronise them. “Before I used to sell food early in the morning but we always struggled to sell all our market until my friend advised me to try the night business three years ago. Since then, God has been faithful to me and my family. Because the food at those big restaurants is expensive, people always come in different cars to buy food from us and sometimes we will stay at this junction till 12 midnight and customers would  still be asking if we had food.”

Owerri is known as the home of hospitality in the South-East, and it continues to welcome both residents and visitors with minimal discomfort. Many believe that the state capital is a great place to live in. With Governor Uzodimma expected to be re-elected on November 11, it is expected that the nightlife and enjoyment opportunities in the state will continue without any security threats.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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