God forbid. I can’t sell the material for N3,000. The least I will take is N5, 000. If you can have enough money, I am all set to sell. But if you maintain on paying N3, 000, you can go to Oja-Oba(market) and buy from there.”
If you think the above words came from a trader in fabric materials, you are 100 percent wrong. The material that is up for sale here is not the usual fabric made of cotton or linen. It is sex! The traders are female students of a tertiary institution in Ibadan, Oyo State, who have included “runs” to their studies.
Overwhelmed with reports of the escapades and prostitution of the female students in Ibadan, Gbenga Odunsi –– 9news Nigeria investigative journalist –– moved around some clubs and bars, disguising as a client in need of a sex merchant for the night –– to examine the veracity or otherwise of the reports. His findings revealed that the high rate of these commercial sex workers in Ibadan is alarming.
His first point of call was Platinum bar, a fun spot located directly opposite UBA building, Bodija. While some were already set and were waiting for prospective customers, others were seen changing the clothes they had worn from their hostels into skimpy dresses or applying make-ups at the roadside.
Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah
While Oyo State is dubbed as ‘The pacesetter State’, Africa’s largest city is not setting a good pace in areas of morality.
A tall, light-skinned and beautiful twenty-three-year-old lady –– whom I later knew as Chinwe –– was eager to land a client for the night, so her eyes darted furtively scanning the newcomers. When asked how much her business fetched every night, she was hesitant at first. “Why you dey ask? You wan do?” she threw back. It was important to encourage her to think that I was a soon-to-be client, so negotiations were opened with a bottle of wine which encouraged her to sit beside me.
For short time — meaning a round of sex with her — she would accept as low as N1000. “But if you wan enjoy yourself well, well, touch and, smoosh body, you go make am N2500.” We haggled and she brought it down to N2000. Spending a night with Chinwe will take nothing less than N3000. “That mean say, you go enjoy till daybreak”, she said patronizingly, blinking her amorous eyes.
It was Tuesday night and ladies were seen in skimpy and provocative clothes; smoking cigarettes and drinking beer with reckless abandon; some twisted their bodies to the music that blared from the big audio system mounted on a stage; while others were seen swinging their hips to entice clients.
Chinwe, who hails from Anambra, is a 300-level Animal Science student at the University of Ibadan. According to her, she gets as much as N8,000 on a good night, while she goes home with at least N2,000 when market is bad. She further stated that she decided to “do runs” because she needed money to complete her education.
In spite of advices from religious bodies, parents and electronic media on the hazard of commercial sex working among the female gender especially young ladies, some are still intransigent. The increase of brothels in Ibadan and its environs has been fast and pronounced in the last few years. Dugbe Queens Cinema, Bodija and Oremeji Road are some of the worst affected areas.
GQ Lounge and 411-night club are next to each other; they are positioned before Elewure bus stop along Bodija road. Countless young ladies were seen standing both inside and out the clubs with their short stem skirt and bum short, soliciting men and money. A few were seen standing beside some cars waiting for the owner of the cars if they could carry them home for a night. There is also another club local at the T-junction along secretariat road, Bodija. The activities of these commercial sex workers always cause hold up in that area as they stand on both sides of the roads soliciting men and money.
Another walk through the area offers you greater embarrassment. They hoot, call and even drag you: “Come now, na me call you first, you no know me again? Come, I go do you well, come and enjoy yourself.” If you are casually dressed, they call you student, otherwise, they call you oga or fine man.”
At D’Rovans Hotel, I had barely sat before a young lady –– who simply gave her name as Tolu –– took her seat beside me and asked for a bottle of beer. I obliged and began conversing. As I was conversing with the lady, four plump and voluptuous ladies in tank tops and bum shorts swaggered their round waist past us. Findings revealed that the ladies were students the University of Ibadan.
Like the trendy saying goes, time is money. Tolu, a student of Ibadan Polytechnic, was obviously not ready for chitchat as she wanted to get down to action at once. Her eyes darted around sizing up everything in trousers as she told me to come to her room and I obliged. According to Tolu, “N2000, and that is the final price for ‘short time’ but she is ready to collect N1500 if I am ready. I offer to pay her the full N2000 for a fifteen-minute chat rather than sex, which she agreed to.
When asked why she is into such trade, she said “My father is late and my mother is indigent. So, I must find my way, and I am not ready to steal. It is not that I enjoy sleeping around, but man must survive.” Advised to get a job and then further her education on a part-time basis, she said no. She, however, showed some remorse when I outlined some of the risks involved in the “runs.”
Investigation revealed that sex workers are ready to accept between N1500 and N2500 for short time if you meet them in their rooms as they make more money when clients come to their rooms rather than booking a hotel room.
Under the pretense of patronage, I approached another sex worker to know more about how the sex workers are faring with such trade. Aishat said: “Things are really bad now. During Jonathan administration, we enjoyed a lot. Ever since Buhari came to power, everybody has been broke and patronage has dropped drastically. “My brother my bill for ST is N2000 but how much can you offer me? Let us go to my room and talk.” She said, winking her eyes.
Residents tired of living with sex workers
At Dugbe, Adeola Olateju expressed irritation over the way of life of the girls claiming that their style has grave implications for their children.
“As a mother of two, I feel bothered but I don’t have any solution to the problem, because it is their life. Sincerely, the kind of life these girls live is a shame to womanhood. They wear indecent clothes revealing their bodies to everyone in display of what they represent.
“There is a need for government to do something about prostitution; possibly let them stop them from cohabiting with people, they should live in an isolated environment instead of living among responsible individuals for the safety of our children.”
Another resident at Iwo road, Joy Odipe, gave reasons why a section of the place is called ‘Angle 90’ and her desire to vacate the environment: “This place is known as ‘angle 90’ simply because of prostitutes who reside here. I can tell say that the population of prostitutes here is higher than other individuals. Honestly, I am tired of the environment and will soon relocate.”
A resident at close to the popular D’rovans hotels expressed discontentment on the rate of prostitution in the city. ” How do you explain a lady taking to prostitution as a means of livelihood?
“It is just too bad and as well very ungodly. To advise them is not easy since they have become hardened. They didn’t just start the trade today. When you call them to counsel them, they will abuse you and ask you if you will bear their responsibilities.”
A private school teacher working in Mokola area of Ibadan, Mrs. Teju Olawale, stated that brothels within residential areas are an eyesore which should be eradicated. She said that the presence of brothels in residential and school areas was harmful to education and development.
Without a doubt, the Oyo State government needs to move swiftly into proscribing street prostitution in the state. Efforts to get reaction from the police public relations officer proved abortive as several calls and text messages sent to him remained unanswered as at the time of filing this report.