Saturday 24 September 2016

S*x for Free: Inside the Cesspool of Prostitution at Ebute Metta, Lagos

This is an expose on the spate of prostitution in a part of Lagos, Ebute Metta which is one of the oldest districts in the financial nerve center of Nigeria.

Ebute Metta which means 'three shores' is highly populated with people of the dominant Yoruba tribe. The area has some ancient buildings with unappealing appearances choked together as a result of poor town planning system. Majority of the buildings were erected during the colonial era using the Brazilian architecture according to research.

The residential areas have almost been transformed to market places with each house selling one commodity or the other or probably offering a definite service with artisans apparently everywhere.

Ebute Metta till today prides itself as the birthplace of one of the largest Christian ministries in the world - Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG. History teaches us that the Pentecostal mega church started from the sitting room of one man named Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi as a house fellowship in the year 1952 at Willoughby Street with initially 9 members. But today, everything seems to have changed negatively for the centre of Lagos. Investigations have it that the Ebute Metta district alone has about 12 different brothels which are massively patronized by fun-seekers.

Ebute Metta, especially the Oyingbo area has been marred with some dark spots criminally manned by men of the underworld participating in the smoking of Indian hemp, hard drugs, toxic materials, cultism, petty robbery, vandalism, thuggery, s*xual harassment, r*pe, embarrassing beggars and prostitutes.

The Oju Irin area (railway line) of Oyingbo at night could pass for the headquarters of the Red-light Districts in Nigeria if a novice storms the area at night. The oldest profession in the world is proudly and gallantly practiced in the dark at about 4 brothels competitively lining up closely beside each other. The place is like a centre of unity with ladies/women of different ages, languages, sizes, orientations, ethnic groups coming together to contribute their quota to the pleasure industry by trading their bodies.

The magical transformation of the Oju Irin area at night will stun any observer. During the day, the brothels which are situated within a market place with a celestial Church in the heart of the ungodly joint remains deserted like a graveyard. Artisans and other petty business owners would be seen marketing their goods and services innocently with the prostitutes staying out of sight probably sleeping or preparing for an eventful night.

A few heavily bleaching young ladies with skimpy or skin-tight clothes and magnificent natural endowments may be seen strolling around the vicinity to attend to some chores.

Some randy young and old men who can't withstand the discomfort of their s*xual urge rush themselves to the centre like it’s a hospital to ease pressure before their condition gets "out of hand." The prostitutes who are like doctors are readily available to attend to the patients - customers even in the face of the deepest sleep or hang-over so far the price is right.

Investigations revealed that as late as 8pm every day, the queens of the night swing into action. The darkness gives them the needed courage to sell their 'wares'.

"Their services here are so cheap and unbelievable due to the level of competition here. In fact with about N500, you can enjoy the 'Papa and Mama' (missionary) style of s*x conveniently so far your ejaculation is not too delayed" a slightly tipsy customer opened up.

He also averred that most of them charge as low as N3,000 and above for a night depending on the beauty and self-worth of the prostitute.

"S*x here is almost for free. It’s for the masses. I suspect the Lagos State Government paid subsidy for their services to make the people happy'' one Chinedu opened up to a correspondent under cover amidst laughter.

When quizzed about his love life and penchant for prostitutes, the middle-aged man claimed to be married with two kids but also shows up at the brothels to have a feel of "varieties" of women.

His words "I have lived in Oyingbo for 10 good years and I am happily married with two kids and in fact my wife is heavily pregnant. I come here mostly to explore. You know variety is the spice of life. This is not cheating'' he reiterated.

"Marriage is not easy oh! Sleeping with just one woman for so long is like restricting yourself to one particular food for the rest of your life. You need to refresh your taste" he said as he gulped a bottle of cold Orijin and shook his head to the very loud music that rented the air.

The squalor has been described as an exhibition of women of various sizes and shapes. Some are tall, others are brief, some average in height and others flaunt medium-sized breasts and bums in revealing outfits accompanied by 'thunderous stretch marks’ mostly without underwear to control the minds of prospective customers. Some others who are naturally fortunate to mount mind-boggling physical endowments could serve as tourist attraction dominate the market.

They wear heavy make-ups, chew gums irritatingly as they parade back and forth the area soliciting for customers. Pidgin English seems to be the order to the day.

You hear words like "Oga come here na! I go do you well oh"

"Fine boy where you dey go? Nor be me you dey find"

"Oga check me out na! My body dey kampe. I never born oh"

"I go make you happy oga. I dey suck. You go enjoy me sotey you go pursue your babe I swear"

The odour emanating from the area is irritating as it is mixed with all sorts of nauseating perfumes, alcohol, body odour, conk cigarette smoke, traditional gutter and stagnant water stench in Lagos, used condoms, urine and others.

Further information gathered revealed that Ebute Metta youths are ever encouraging as they turn up en masse especially on a Friday night like it’s a weekly ritual. This is a crystal-clear indication that the HIV/AIDS orientation programmes in the media that mostly preach abstinence from s*x as the safest measure have fallen on infected ears.

Some potential hoodlums and other hard-faced men of glaring questionable characters use the pleasure spot as meeting point to make illicit transactions.

Some policemen could also be seen parading the vicinity with heavy arms.

A correspondent learnt the policemen always keep an eye on the area due to its volatile nature as regular fights do break out between the prostitutes and customers mostly due to payment and service delivery fracas.

One of the commercial s*x workers who identified herself as Mary claimed to be a petty trader based in Warri, Delta State. According to her, she prostitutes in Lagos on a part-time note to raise money for her business after which she returns to her home-state briefly.

"I am just hustling here. Nigeria is not easy at all. Our leaders have eaten all the money. There is nothing left for the poor in this country.
I have people relying on me and I have nobody to rely on. Person must survive oh''
she said.

"I work here for just two weeks and use my business profits to buy slippers, shoes and clothes cheaply in Lagos which I later resell at high prices in Warri"

"You think I am lying?" She asked on probably noticing the astonishment on the face of the reporter.

"I have a serious boyfriend. He doesn't know I am doing this. In fact if you come here through-out next week, my door will be locked because I will be in Warri" the dark-skinned curvy young lady concluded as she 'cat-walked' away to attend to an impatient customer.

A quick survey of the prostitutes in the Oju Irin axis reveals that the immense 'facilities' available are strained due to the high patronage recorded daily. Most of the women could be spotted with saggy breasts, over-sized bodies, big tummies, sickly looks and body scars all traced to stress of extended services to a mammoth crowd of virile men.

Prostitution in Nigeria is more pronounced than ever with the influx of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Instachat, Weechat, Mobofree, Badoo and several other media through which businesses are clandestinely transacted.

A financial analyst in the know who spoke under the condition of anonymity ridiculously advised President Muhammadu Buhari to focus on imposing tax on the 'traders' as a way of supporting the Nigerian economy which is helplessly recessive.

The traffic at Cool-spots in the Ebute-Metta axis alone is an indictment on female folks whose under-performance could have coerced the men to go out for the 'extra'.
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