bY Stellamaries Amuwa
Many decent and well-paved streets of the Federal Capital Territory have been turned red light districts, by women who leave no one in doubt about their addiction and tenacity in commercial sex work. Stellamaries Amuwa writes.
The nooks and crannies of Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja are speedily being turned into red light districts. Spots which promote commercial sex are emerging in the seat of power with eerie regularity. This is even as streets and roads which hitherto hosted no flock of women of easy virtue by evening and night falls have all become something different.
Time was when Zone 4 and Gimbiya Street, Garki were all there was in the business of whoring. The booming business in sex is happening in the face of half-hearted attempts by FCT authorities at damage limitation.
Turned red light district with impunity Aikhomu Street in Utako that host Ede Garden and Zuma Garden, where near naked women mob men for sex by evening fall.
Before now areas like Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 2, Gimbiya Garki, Lagos Street, Garki Village, Sheraton Junction, Zone 4, Wuse had all notoriety within the metropolis for the bevy of call girls they host. Now the next red light district may just be a step away from all residences and offices in the FCT.
Although, worldwide, the activities of prostitutes are seen as anti-social that need to be checked. In the FCT, there incessant raids on on commercial sex workers.
Prostitution is known as a trade for women of easy virtues of which under-graduates, jobless as well as working class ladies now populate the profession in the FCT.
Ikemefula Okolo, Abuja resident said, “The fact that parents send their children to study in higher institution without proper check on them, has negative effect. You cannot send a girl to school of higher learning where she meets all manner of people from different backgrounds without proper checks, the girl might be influenced by friends or out of meeting up with societal vogues go against your laid down rules and the negative effects of these could be contacting and spreading diseases or even death.”
Okolo added that in late 90s university girls were not part of the red light district activities but that now majority of them are joining the business all in a bid to make ends meet. “Parents need to buckle up. Agreed that most of these girls are adults, above 18 years of age before gaining admission but the African tradition still leaves them at your mercies as parents let’s do our home duties, know who your child really is.”
Different organisations have emerged to curb the activities of prostitution within the FCT and to build acceptable moral standards that the young in the society can imbibe for a better tomorrow, but the profession continues to grow.
The former FCT Minister, Mallam Isa Mohammed, made a pronouncement in 2010 banning the activities of commercial sex workers in the federal capital. The ban worked for a period of time, even though many knew it could not be sustained, because banning of prostitution had never worked in any part of the world.
The FCT authority established a task force that was saddled with the responsibility of arresting and prosecuting anyone caught in the act within the FCT. But are they winning the war?
In Kubwa, the biggest Abuja satellite town, its red light district is aptly named “Women Boku.” Women Boku hosts a concentratiob of brothels in the satellite town. Ploce in the area benefit immensely from the commercial sex that thrive in Women Boku by invading the area from time to time and snatching away prostitutes who then buy their freedom. The police also make from the brothels’ managers and proprietors, who make regular payments to them just to keep them at bay.
Some have taken their trade to the Internet.
When our correspondent spoke to Samuel Paul, an Abuja resident, he opened up on how a close friend and colleague introduced him to an online site, Badoo, where he met a lady just by clicking on the site and the pictures of beautiful ladies with inviting curves, with their phone numbers in tow materialise.
“Initially, I thought it was a joke, until I dialed one of the numbers of one of the ladies; beautiful, fair and attractive, I could not believe her number was going through.”
According to Samuel, as soon as the call went through, a lady’s voice answered: “Hello, do you need my assistance?” I replied “yes” and asked her how much her services would cost for a full night and she said “N20,000.
“We bargained as if I was buying a commodity and we arrived at N10,000. I told her to meet me at the Berger Bus Stop by 10:00pm. At 9:55pm exactly, I was at the bus stop with two of my friends for fear of being attacked but when I called her, she answered.
“My friend who was behind the wheel was already admiring the lady. She got in and we went straight to a drinking bar. As soon as we had settled at the bar, my friend insisted on having her and advised me to go look for another. Disappointed, I told her to call one of her friends and she surprised me by saying she could ‘service’ us if we were willing. We agreed and did a re-bargaining and, in the end, we settled for N15,000 for my friend and I.”
Paul confessed that he and his mates were far from disappointed.It is commonplace to see these young ladies posing and smoking sashay in hang-outs within the city; and standing in different shadowy areas of Wuse 2 or posing as lost or traumatised.
Those who throng the lobbies of the Transcorp charge as much as much as N50,000 for the night and N20,000 for ‘short-time’, depending on the client’s bargaining power. A few of them, if lucky, end up going home with about N200,000 and above, when they hit moneybags.
It is said that prostitutes also aid hotels’ businesses in the FCT, as some patrons especially expatriates visit some hotels just to tango with them. Hubs notorious for hosting call girls in the FCT Gimbiya Street and Port Harcourt Crescent in Area 11, as well as Lagos Street in Garki 2.
These ladies can be seen loitering under the cover of darkness from one point to the other, waiting for any driver that stops. These places have different hide away where the ladies can give any patron a quick service, with as low N3,000 and to N30,000 for all night.
Lagos Street in Garki, also known as ‘Obalende’, because it never sleeps. Activities here were clamped upon by policemen few years back but it is beginning to re-gain its notoriety with the world’s oldest profession. Almost all the security posts of the inns and hotels in this axis are being used by sex workers for their business. They give the security men stipends after activities with their patrons. The class of sex workers often found in FCT’s Obalende charge as low as N2000 to N3,000 for a short session, The Apo-Kabusa axis is not left out. Semi-nude girls sit in front of their shacks waiting patiently for their customers, with some making do with as low as N1000 for the night.
The Gwarimpa, which hosts the largest estate in West Africa, has a lady willing to trade her body for some money at almost every nook and cranny of the vast estate. In the estate, Third Avenue, has gained notoriety as a prominent red light district.
Activities in Third Avenue are 24 hours non-stop, because most of them live there. They give you their contacts and you can link them up whenever you need them. The Masalaci and ‘Upstairs’ areas of Jabi are games. They are zones notorious for a cheap and admixture of beautiful young ladies and old women, while men come in their numbers to patronise them.
In Utako, girls from Jabi-Airport Road hang out to do their bits. Charges in this axis are as high as N20,000 and N30,000. ‘Abuja big boys’ find the ladies that operate here, hugely admirable.
Presently in In Zone 4, which is the matrix of FCT red light districts, some women of easy virtues who now operate here no longer give nothing away, as they are often dress responsibly, some of them adorning Muslim hijabs and veils and pose as if waiting for cabs. This new disguise, our correspondent learnt, is good for business, as men feel freer to drop by for them without brazenly being identified with a prostitute. Majority of the ladies here are identified to come from neighbouring West African countries.
Pyakasa, a locale along Airport Road and the Federal Housing Estate, Lugbe, have seen the profession thrive for years on end.
One of the ladies, Maria Idris disclosed to our correspondent that she came all the way from Benue State to ply her trade.
“I came to work and be able to send money to my two children in Benue, but, when I got here the only job I got was hair-plaiting. A lady invited me to this hotel to make her hair and, after that, she introduced me to other ladies. That was how I started coming here regularly. On one occasion, a man said he liked me and, after much talk, we ended up in one of the rooms. He later paid me N3,000 and, just like that. I intend to save enough money, so that I can start a good business. I am getting tired here, because, at times, policemen come here to chase us,” she said.
In 2013, the FCTA earmarked about N5billion for the rehabilitation of prostitutes and other indigent women within the city, but, since the clampdown on prostitution, the profession rather spreads, with the ladies devising new and bolder methods of doing the business.