Prostitution in Abuja goes high-level as sex-peddlers, devising ways ranging from the sly to the fetish, warm the beds of top politicians and senior civil servants. Many of the girls have comfortable wealth to flaunt as returns
In the circles of two former students of a university in south-western Nigeria, the story is still being relished. A former Minister of Works had invited the two girls to his hotel room at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, for a sex two-some a few years ago. (‘Two-some’ in sex parlance, is when a man takes on two girls at a go for a sex bout. ‘Three-some’ involves three girls, and so on.) As one of the girls herself, a tall, dark and sultry kitten nicknamed Ebony, told this magazine, the link-up with the minister had come from a pimp famous on the university campus for his connections with National Assembly members and other top public officials in Abuja.
What still amuses the narrator is what she called the man’s “stupid inaction” despite paying a high price. The minister could not just get it up. Ebony spoke of how she and her partner worked on the minister’s organ for over two hours. She said that apart from fondling it, they took turns giving him a blow-job, BJ. A girl gives a man a BJ when she licks and sucks his organ. Despite all these, the minister could not be aroused to perform actual sexual activity. He didn’t complain, though, and even seemed satisfied. The minister gave Ebony and her partner N200,000 each for a job adjudged well done.
Ebony didn’t think of this experience, that is, the invitation to Abuja, as anything extraordinary. With her as an undergraduate, it was a norm. She confided she was involved in, at least, 10 high-level sex romps in the federal capital when she was a student. She particularly recalled trips, in company of fellow money-seeking, fun-loving friends to the palatial edifice, in Abuja, of a former governor from the South South. The ex-governor, considered to be the worst leader his state was unfortunate to have ever had, was notorious for his love for pretty teenage girls or those in their early 20s. Ebony said the least number of girls the former governor ever had in his sex romps, in which she was also a particpant, was three. “He was a pervert,” she said, adding: “He didn’t quite have the stamina for real sex, but he would order the girls to, for hours, do unprintable things with him.” On any of the occasions, the least-paid undergraduate prostitute earned N100,000.
Since Abuja earned fame as the “happening” place where milk and honey, in form of local and foreign currencies, flow ceaselessly from the wallets of federal legislators, ministers, special aides, highly placed civil servants and their wealthy private sector cronies, prostitutes of all hues have made the territory a haven to prise some fortune off what they consider the national cake. “Of all hues,” because, as a senator disclosed, besides the professional, dyed-in-the-wool harlots, plutomaniac ladies from other areas of life, ranging from housewives, contractors and career women to even stars in the entertainment industry, also frequent Abuja for lucrative rolls in the hay.
Prostitution in the city has metamorphosed from the conventional sedentary practice in local brothels and notable red light districts into a sophisticated network of ‘runs’, to use one of the many coinages applied in the trade. Today’s prostitution in Abuja wears many faces. Although the old method where patrons walk in and savour, paying a pittance, for just a few minutes of sex still exists in the suburbs and satellite towns like Kuje, Lugbe, Dutse, Karmo, Karu, Mararaba, Nyanya and Kubwa, the new trend of expensive sex holds in the many luxury hotels in the Abuja metropolis and the exquisite homes of the super rich.
The methods the high class prostitutes employ to curry patronage vary. Like Ebony, some of them are students, or pretenders as students, who come highly recommended to patrons by pimps who arrange the meetings. The pimp either receives his pay-off directly from the patron and leaves the girls to collect their wages from their patron before or after the sex act, or he packages his consultancy wholesale, whereby he collects the girls’ wages from the patron and is the one to pay them off. Girls resent this latter pay mode, though, as Olaide, a Higher National Diploma student of a polytechnic in north-central Nigeria, told TheNEWS. More often than not, the pimps grossly shortchange the girls on the handout from the patrons. Olaide related an occasion a pimp organised a “runs” for her and a friend with a House of Representatives member. The “slaughter slab”, as venue of a sex act is sometimes called in the business, was the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja where the legislator had booked a double suite. The poly undergraduate described the politician as an insatiable stud throughout the night but who was highly impressed by the girls’ compromising co-operation, despite it all. Desirous of an encore, he exchanged telephone numbers with Olaide, but not before assuring her and her friend a handsome remuneration, through his pimp contact, in appreciation of the marathon, energy-sapping sex act just concluded. “We were surprised when, the next day, our contact pal offered us each an envelope containing N50,000. Immediately, something told me he was gypping us because our customer sounded convincingly sincere about rewarding us handsomely.” Olaide called the politician, raised the question and was exasperated to learn he actually gave the pimp N250,000 for the two girls.
Many high-class prostitutes don’t wait to be invited. They (most of them are undergraduates from across the country) periodically check into major hotels in Abuja where about three or four may contribute money to take a room. They could keep the room for days or weeks. It is from this operational base that they subtly solicit for clients. It is not uncommon to see young girls sitting at the bars and poolside of big hotels in the city cooly nursing glasses of drinks or loitering in the lobby, watching out for preys.
Their numbers especially swell whenever a big event, especially an event involving the political class, is holding in the FCT. The category involved in this “runs” encompasses ladies across the board – students, contractors, professional harlots, etc. During the day, they mingle with the crowd to see what networking they can successfully achieve to ease the end of nailing down a ‘customer’. Many of the doxies, quite sassy and chic, seize every available opportunity to chat up potentially high-paying bedmates. They are usually allowed free roam by the hotel security hands, bartenders, receptionists and even front desk managers whom they tip agreeably. These conspirators not only allow them free access, they also feed them with valuable information on who is around, is generous with cash, is a cassanova and is likely to succumb to their coquettish advances. Late evening, floozies unfortunate not to have been hooked can be seen at the night clubs of the major hotels or lined up on the access roads game-hunting. Beyond cash rewards, this category of prosties, largely, are prayerful of nailing down significant ‘customers’ like suitably positioned top politicians and public officers who can award or influence the award of contracts in their favour. Whereas most of the student whores who invade Abuja are in the business principally to seek for money to pay their fees through school and take care of personal needs like feeding, clothings and toiletries, their other professional, usually older rivals are in the city willing to sell their bodies not merely to desire immediate cash, but to exploit medium to long-term business opportunities.
And how desperate they can be. A serving senator from the South-South regaled this publication of his experience with a lady he initially believed was a genuine trader. The lawmaker was on Friday 28 September 2007 in Attah village, Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, at the burial ceremony of the late former Senate president, Evan Enwenrem, when the lady appeared quite unexpectedly. He had met her only once before the shock meeting at where he was lodged for the burial function. He recalled receiving the lady, shortly before the trip to Imo, in his office in the National Assembly complex in Abuja. The beautiful, well-built and endowed lady was not indecently dressed and had stated her primary mission to the office of the senator as marketing genuine men’s clothings and perfumes. But as their discussion progressed, the lawmaker observed that the lady was lavishly pouring out unmerited compliments on him. “I tried to imagine and even queried if really I was qualified for some of those encomiums,” he quipped. As she gaily talked, she was exhibiting all the come-on-and-get-me-I-am-available mannerisms of a hooker. Her message was clear.
As the senator said, he managed to break loose from the conversation when he got a call from a colleague who wanted to be kept abreast about preparations for the funeral of their departed colleague. But if the senator thought this digression and lengthy discussion with his colleague would inflict boredom on her and consequently force her to leave, he was mistaken. Indeed, the telephone discussion offered her vital information on how she could possibly track the lawmaker down, away from the office in an informal environment. With the details of the trip at her disposal, it was easy for her to catch up with the lawmaker. There, she fully unleashed her antics. The senator admitted that the very sexy and revealing cleavage of the lady was tempting, and he had to will all the discipline in him to ease her out. The senator maintained that what still amazes him is that at the first sight of the lady, nothing gave her away as a possible merchant of commercial sex business. “She was well-dressed, very beautiful, innocent-looking and simplicity personified, an admirable personality you would want to chat with with no untoward act intended, if you are the disciplined type. I was surprised when she came out oozing sex,” he remarked.
The senator was lucky to have escaped from the claws of the itinerant hooker. Danladi Ali (not his real names), a director in charge of contracts in a juicy federal ministry in Abuja was not. One bright summer morning two years ago, in July, Ali’s aide ushered a visitor into his office. The visitor was one Gladys, who introduced herself as a contractor from, and indigene of Cross River State. Gladys, the director’s aide narrated to TheNEWS, was a ravishing beauty. Tall, large-eyed, busty and flawlessly sculptured, Gladys immediately struck a chord with Ali. The visitor discussed the issue of contracts with the top ministry official, who, apparently carried away by her beauty, began promising her the world.
And he didn’t disappoint. Soon, Gladys was benefiting from an avalanche of contracts, not only from Ali’s ministry, but also from beyond as the director pulled strings to favour her considerably. Of course, all these were not obtained ex gratia. “Everybody knew my oga was sleeping with her. It was like oga himself was proud to be showing her off as his mistress,” the aide said. Gladys gained extensively from her association with Ali. She bought the 2009 Mercedes Benz 500 jeep, the 2009 Toyota Avalon saloon and a BMW sports car. She also, as asserted by the aide, owned a property in metropolitan Abuja.
Many tramps like Gladys are doing well for themselves in Abuja, always decked in expensive trendy dresses and cruising about in glittering multi-million naira rides. It is like sex is the most lucrative business in the Federal Capital Territory. And why not? A few weeks ago, this magazine reported the crazy earnings federal legislators take home every quarter, in the midst of widespread poverty in the land. And in public service generally, at the top level, corruption has assumed a grotesque dimension. At both the National Assembly and top echelon of civil service, there is so much rip-off of public funds to waste. Women who can muster the will to shun fidelity and debase their womanhood share the belief that if there is anywhere in the country where they can acquire their own wealth, it is Abuja – from the beds of federal legislators and senior civil servants.
The sex that the lady the senator said he shunned in Imo oozes is archetypal of what Abuja itself oozes. The Federal Capital does ooze sex, utilised in wads of naira notes, dollars and pound sterling. Investigations by this magazine revealed that whenever there are high profile functions in the city by politicians and captains of industry, there are always special orders for the services of girls of easy virtue. Abuja’s rich and powerful even import prostitutes from overseas. These women are typically made available to other high-powered male guests in a fashion similar to the serving of buffet at a high society event. So common is the practice that at least one former military dictator is rumoured to have died in the arms of an imported Indian prostitute.
A story is also being told derisively in Abuja about how a former president of Nigeria appointed a “pimp” as his Senior Special Assistant. As this magazine gathered, at the inception of the former president’s administration, the favoured aide was resident outside of Nigeria. Though the said ‘pimp’ was not officially an aide to the then president, he, however, had free access to the former president as his services, not formally defined anywhere, were tagged very essential. In no time, he relocated to Nigeria in a bid to make the services more regular to his boss and he became a common face in the Aso Rock Villa.
On one of such occasions, a very curious vice-president asked his boss if the “pimp” was one of the aides as his face was becoming very regular around the president’s house. The former president, reputed for his vulgar humour, was said to have answered: “Em, em, yes. He’s PA Toto.” The bewildered deputy replied: “You mean, PA Domestic Affairs?” The ex-president answered: “Yes. That is a better name for it.” It was after that encounter that the appointment of the aide was formalised. And while the administration lasted, it remained so. The aide remained one of the closest to the then president and was indeed, highly favoured by the government.
Investigations also confirmed that top politicians and public office holders are the biggest spenders on corporate prostitutes in Abuja. Away from their homes, the men usually let go of their guard to savour the adventurous world of these hookers. And to make the act clean and tidy, most of the top personalities maintain more than one room in whatever hotel they decide to lodge. This conveniently helps them beat whatever prying eyes when the girls are brought in and smuggled out.
Considering the reckless manner that the public officers lavish money on prostitutes, not a few people believe that the desperate female plutomaniacs resort to fetish means to achieve their wealth-acquisition objectives. Olaide confessed it is true. “Many of the girls and women who target top politicians in Abuja apply juju to trap their victims. It is more than ordinary, it is occultic in most cases when you see a politician or civil servant purchase a brand new expensive car or build an eye-popping property for a hustler. This is something he finds difficult to do for his wife at home. The belief among the prostituting lot is that these people have money, plenty of it, but are still stingy with it. They will rather want to go to bed with you and give you peanuts. To be able to obtain something that will ultimately free you from poverty for life from them, you need to go the extra mile,” she explained frankly. Does she specifically do it, she was asked. “I am thinking seriously about it,” she retorted.
At a night club in Abuja, according to a soft sell tabloid, a University of Abuja lady died, after sniffing cocaine. It was one of the mind bending substances that enabled her to satisfy her highly heeled customers.
Also another medium reported how a South-South senator’s wife developed brain problem after she came to Abuja to save him from the grip of his mistress. After spending two nights at the Apo quarters of the senator, he did not show up. The wife had to call her husband’s line which was picked up by the mistress. This development led to the senator’s wife’s mental complication.
However, when some of the ladies face danger, they know when to beat a retreat. That was the case with a Fulani babe who hooked an oil magnate in the city. When the businessman’s wife, who unfortunately did not have any child for the husband (though she had two in her previous marriage) got wind of this, she was angry. She started sending threats via text messages to the Fulani lady. Consequently, to prove that she was not interested in snatching the man, she returned her brand new N3.6million Honda Civic car to the man who bought it for her originally.
The daughter of a Senator was among 35 ladies who were arrested in June in Abuja. That was when men of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board and the FCT Social Development Secretariat raided Lagos Street, Garki II, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse, Port Harcourt Crescent Area II, zone 4 and Rita Lori Hotel off Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti way. However, when the Senator protested, the FCT later ‘found out’ that it was a case of mistaken identity as the lady just happened to be at the scene of the raid.
The sex Abuja oozes is not restricted to the high and mighty alone. Until recently when the incumbent Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, decided to clamp down on prostitution in the city, the trade was for this corner, e dey there, for that corner, e dey there, as one advertisement line of the moribund African Continental Bank harped many years ago. Worried by the sharp increase in the activities of sex workers in the territory, the minister, on 12 June gave the prostitutes a 48-hour ultimatum to leave the nation’s capital or face the wrath of the law. The minister noted that the ever-increasing number of prostitutes in the city constitutes a nuisance as their services add no value to its beauty. He gave them a stern warning to heed the ultimatum, noting that the FCT Special Task Force would immediately be out to arrest them. The ultimatum was issued through the FCT Secretary for Social Development, Mrs. Blessing Onuh. The minister followed up the ban with a plea to the different religious organisations, calling on churches, mosques and other public-spirited groups and individuals to assist in rehabilitating thousands of commercial sex workers whom the ban would dislodge from Abuja streets.
A patron of the call girls at Empress Hotel in Wuse hinted on why he hardly can do without their services, saying that the current cold weather makes it difficult for him to spend the night alone. “As you can see, it is rainy season now, it is not good for a man to just go home and sleep alone,” he said. “Even though their activities are immoral, they still provide services that are much needed. Government is just trying to exhibit a holier-than-thou attitude as many top government officials patronise them regularly,” another patron said.
The Minister’s threat and enforcement would not force a total adherence from the call girls. In fact, the pronouncement has been greeted by more resistance than acquiescence. Whenever enforcement rages, the prostitutes momentarily recoil into hiding, only to resurface when it abates. “The ultimatum given to the girls has only led to an increase in their charges. Normally, they charged between N5,000 and N10,000 for us to take them home. But now, we are forced to cough out up to N12,000 or more for a clean, beautiful babe,” a patron offered.
In a protest letter signed by Mr Emmanuel Onwubiko, National Coordinator of Abuja-based Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, and addressed to the Minister, the group challenged the action on the grounds that it was a breach on the principle of fundamental human rights of the commercial sex workers and especially on innocent ladies that are being subjected to the same treatment as prostitutes on the suspicion that they are also hookers. “We have been duly informed by some innocent victims of the various harassment by police operatives who said they are acting on your instruction to arrest any prostitute seen on the road,” the letter read. It urged the FCT minister to re-direct or instruct that the police operatives desist from “this constant evening harassment of female citizens in the city since they could not differentiate a prostitute from a decent female citizen”. It also suggested that the administration deploy a “better, humane and rights-friendly approach to wipe out the menace of prostitution”.
But the Minister and his team are unrelenting. In backing its pronouncement with action, a combined team of men of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, and staff of the FCT Social Development Secretariat arrested about 35 commercial sex workers and two of their customers at various spots in the city two days after the expiration of the warning. Areas raided included Lagos Street, Garki 2, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent Wuse 11, Port Harcourt Crescent Area 11, Zone 4 and Rita Lori Hotel, off Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti Way. It was gathered that among the arrested suspects were daughters of serving senators and members of state houses of assembly. One of the men caught allegedly patronising the call girls claimed to be the driver of a general in the Nigerian Army. The suspects were taken to the Wuse Police Station in Zone 3 where they were handed over to the police for prosecution before the intervention of some powerful forces from government saw their swift release from police detention.
The suspected prostitutes and their patrons however denied their involvement in the immoral trade, claiming that they only went out for shopping. They insisted that their arrests was infringements of their fundamental human rights.
A task force, consisting of AEPD officials and the Development Control of the Federal Capital City, pulled down Bar and Casino in Efab Estate on Sunday 27 June. Bar and Casino was alleged to harbour prostitutes and engage in the sale of drugs in the estate. The Director of AEPB, Dr Abubakar S.Yabo, as well as Director, Development Control, (TPL) of the FCT, Yahaya Yusuf described the Bar and Casino as a hideout for prostitutes that have been evacuated from the FCT, and lamented that apart from allegedly dealing in drugs, it also constituted a nuisance to residents in the estate.
But the owner of the Bar and Casino, Ogbano Chima Oduko denied the allegations. He told Leadership newspaper that his business was not in any way disturbing the residents. He blamed the Landlord and Tenants Association of the estate for his woes, while accusing them of extorting money from people who operated businesses in the place. “If you do not dance to their tune, they harass you,” he alleged.
One of the arrested prostitutes owned up to her trade and declared there was nothing wrong in what she was doing as it was nobody’s business what she did with her body. She maintained that rather than trying to frustrate them out of the business, government should register them and give them identity cards and tax numbers like their counterparts in other parts of the world, so that they could become a source of revenue generation for the government. She maintained that the government had no moral right to drive them off the streets as they had high ranking public officers in the public and private sector among their clientele.
Perhaps so. According to Felix Abraham Obi, a physiotherapist and writer based in Abuja, in his recount of his date with a prostitute, the streets of Abuja still looked innocent and oblivious of the paradox that the city personified. Indeed, the grandiose streets and well-trimmed neighbourhoods, Abuja is actually replete with seemingly innocent streets that house prostitutes of different hues and shapes at night. Obi believes that the men are as guilty as the female who are branded prostitutes as “supply will always continue for as long as demand exists.”
And as one of the suspects puts it, “the government is disturbing us because we do ours in the open. What about other ladies who claim to be workers in Abuja? They also do it for money. They sleep with men both in their houses and hotels or the men’s places, as well.” Club and street prostitutes argue that while their action arose from the prevailing poverty in the country, the activities of corporate prostitutes are profoundly rooted in greed given vent by inordinate business quests.Abuja parades quite an array of red light spots. These include the sprawling night clubs scattered all over the city, eateries, lounges and gardens. Some of these busy arena include the Dome Niteclub, Club Excellensio, Safari Nite Club in Transcorp Hilton, Grand Mirage Night Club, Rita Lori Night Club and the Silverbird Galleria. At any of these joints, ladies in various shapes and sizes attired in the most provocative dresses are seen soliciting for men.
But as government continues to make efforts to rid the streets of Abuja of the menace, many believe that the battle may end up as an exercise in futility unless the core problem of poverty is squarely addressed. Shehu Sani, a civil rights activist declared: “The Nigerian elite or political class are cruel and deceptive in their approach to national issues and are ridiculously hypocritical. They want to make Abuja a paradise where there are no vices, no crimes and where the streets are made of gold, where there will be 24 hours electricity to enable them enjoy their privileges, but the fact remains that you can’t make other places hell and enjoy paradise in Abuja. The 36 states of the country are impoverished by local government chairmen, state governors, ministers and National Assembly members who live in Abuja. Therefore, prostitutes cannot vacate Abuja because they are by-products of a collapsed system, they are products of a collapsed economy, and they are functions of a failed State and failed leadership that have come to live with us.
The problem of Abuja is not prostitution, but about treasury looters, about plunderers, about irresponsible public office holders who have milked the country dry, have created an atmosphere of fear and have made life unbearable for the citizens. As a human rights activist, I believe that these prostitutes are products of a morally degenerated society which we can still check by doing the right thing because some of the prostitutes are university students who cannot afford to pay their school fees.”
—Desmond Utomwen & Femi Ipaye