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Monday, 23 May 2016

TBS: From A Crime Hub To A Court Of Civility

Tafawa Balewa Square

 By Patrick Wisdom (Charge Room)

Every privileged soul that have had the opportunity of coming to Lagos must have at least one story about staring down the barrel of a gun or the edge of a knife (the poor and working class are mugged and robbed just as often), and there were few better targets than the players heading to Industry Night at Sip Lounge or the popular Tafawa Belewa’s Square (TBS) or Race Course as was commonly called then.

Lagos is a city of approximately 20 million people where some 9,000 millionaires float upon a sprawling mass of ajepakos (Yoruba slang that roughly translates as “twig eaters”). According to estimates, more than 4 million are unemployed and millions more earn low wages on the black market, which means lurking on the poorly lit streets are countless desperate people who may resort to home break-ins, carjacking and kidnapping rather than beg for spare change to make ends meet. Precious few of the established players in Nigeria’s booming music or entertaining industry offered any penance as they streamed in to mingle with the gilded business class and an occasional hopeful upstart.
In recent years, a handful of artists who have hit the popular charts in the U.S. and Europe, and remixes and collaborations 2face Idibia, Wizkid with Drake and Skepta, and P-Square with Rick Ross pop up on YouTube and SoundCloud. Major Lazer may sample a polyrhythm and a Yoruba lyric from Burna Boy, while Wizkid adopts a Lil Wayne swagger. But in Africa the music is everywhere. Lagos is the laboratory and the loudspeaker, conjuring and blaring Africa’s continental soundtrack to all 54 countries of the motherland.
BHS International Limited is the Concessonaire of the new or re-defined Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), the official venue of the upcoming concert, The Experience Lagos Africa’s biggest gospel music concert, the Lagos Trade Fair and other remarkable events.
Incorporated in 1996, BHS International Limited is the Tourism Infrastructural and Industrial development specialist in Nigeria. Founded by the late Fred Archibong, a renounced visual artist, the facility is presently managed by a seasoned legal practitioner, Barrister (Otunba) Olu-Adenodi.
                                                          Otunba Olu Adenodi

 The company’s primary responsibility is to promote socio-economic development in Nigeria through the transformation of the national monument into a World Class City Centre and destination of choice. This centre is set on being the first of its kind in Nigeria and West Africa, and will be modeled after the “Sandton City Centre” situated in South Africa and the “Trade Centre” in Dubai.
Since advent of BHS International, TBS that used to hotbed of crime and criminalities, has now become a seemingly heaven, where business mogul, religious organization stage their events and are at peace. “No more car-jacking, theft, robbery, break and entry or other street nuisance. The transformation at that place that used to be our headache can only be described as gargantuan,” said the Commissioner of Police (CP) Lagos State Police Command, Fatai Owosieni.
TBS spans about 14.5 hectares of land and is located at Lagos Island formerly Race Course. It is situated in between the Lagos state High Court, King’s College, Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Independence Building, former Cabinet and Senate buildings, Muson Centre, City Mall and holds historical significance as the location where the Union Jack Flag was lowered for the official Nigerian flag in 1960.
BHS Limited’s city centre project comprises the following, Renovation and expansion of the current 375 shops/offices complex, to provide modern shopping complex that compares with internationals standards. Provision of automated pre-fabricated two (level underground car parks of about 10,000 spaces under the existing parade ground. Provision of two level underground car parking under the existing parking to the rear. Provision of huge Shopping Mall of about 1,500 shopping/office spaces. Provision of 3 star hotels with all tourism and entertainment potentials: this would create accommodation and all that would measure up to world standards for high brow customers. Construction of 1,500 capacity Auditorium.
Construction of office complex. Construction of Events hall with Restaurants and snack bars. Construction of Observatory Towers.TBS was constructed in 1972 over the site of a defunct rack for horse racing. It is bounded by Awolowo road, Cable Street, Force road, Catholic Mission street and the 26-storey independence building.
The main entrance to the TBS has gigantic sculptures of four white horses hovering above the gate and seven red eagles, which are symbols from the national emblem signifying Strength and Dignity respectively. Other monuments in the square include the Remembrance Arcade (with memorials to World war I, World war II and Nigerian civil war victims) and the 26-storey Independence House, built in 1963, which was for a long time, the tallest building in Nigeria. The square has a capacity for 50,000 people. Facilities at the square include a shopping center, Airline’s Travel Agencies, restaurants and car parking and a bus terminal.
Major national events at TBS includes Nigeria’s independence celebration which took place on October 1st, 1960 with the Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, delivering his speech. Democracy day, as well as other multifarious events such as musical jamborees and religious gatherings.

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