The saying “nobody comes to Abuja to look at Zuma Rock” is quite popular among these “distinguished” love-peddlers. Colourfully dressed young women in provocative-attires making sexual offers and waiting for a potential male customers have invaded major districts in the Federal Capital Territory. Theirs is an “aggressive marketing” of their product.
“Asewo no be work, many people would tell you. But to us, this is our office. This job puts foods on our table and cloths on our back. We are not ashamed about it because it is very lucrative. Especially here in Abuja, where one can make at least N30,000 or more in a week. Which government work one pay me that one?” Queen, a prostitute on Gimbiya Street told Daily Sun.
It is clear that roadside prostitution in Abuja is at its peak. Walking with a girlfriend, wife or female escort would not stop these call-girls from harassing men. Driving through typical districts like Garki and Wuse areas, one would discovered that prostitutes in large number have taken over some popular streets in FCT at night.
At Port Harcourt Crescent off Gimbiya Street, Garki, one is likely to observe half nude ladies exposing their busts and panties, beckoning on motorists to pick them for the night.
The situation is quite similar at Wuse 2, some of the hotels and clubs in that district have “watered” the ground for prostitutes, as one would find young ladies lined up right from the beginning to the end of Ademola AdeTokunbo and Aminu Kano streets.
The FCT police have been working to keep the streets clean of hawkers. In spite of their crackdown, these ladies of the night still come out in large number with the determination to continue in the ancient business.
According to Monye, a prostitute who is a student of University of Abuja, “the police can raid or arrest us for as long as they want. For us it is part of the risks involved in the business, there is no business without risk. One thing is certain, and that is, we are not leaving the streets of Abuja, take us to court if you want. This is where the national cake is being shared and we are here to get our own share in the best way that we can.”
At the FCT Police Command, a police officer said that prostitution is prohibited in Abuja. According to the officer who gave his name as Adewale: “We have always arrested these prostitutes and even charged them to court where they pleaded guilty and were convicted. Those still on the street, we will continue to give them the surprise raid at their usual spots until this city is free from them.”
One Uche Okoro at the Abuja Magistrate Court told Daily Sun that “these girls are used to being charged to court. The fact that the fines they are made to pay in court are as little as N1000 to N5000, whether guilty of not guilty does not pose a challenge to them. So, they go back to the business immediately they are free.”
“The police should leave us alone, we are not criminals. We know about HIV/Aids, STDs and other diseases associated with this profession. We always use protection and go for our medical checkups every month. As for the risk of getting killed, most of us are security conscious in our operation,” a prostitute who refused to give out her name lamented.
A lawyer, Miss Tayo Ojo, told Daily Sun: “I don’t think it is a crime because there is no written law about prostitution being a crime. I think they get harassed because of indecent dressing. Morally speaking, prostitution cannot be justified, whichever way you look at it. The only basis the police can presently charge prostitutes is for the breach of Section 183 of the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria, by constituting public nuisance. Arresting them is just a way of reducing their number on the streets.”
Mrs Odebumi, an headmistress: “These girls are no respecters of the male spices. Our husbands and sons are their targets. If there is anything the government can do to keep them from the streets of Abuja, we will be glad. The government can also do more to help its citizens. Things like unemployment, poverty and the looting of national resource etc, are responsible for prostitution in Abuja. I also think parents should monitor and teach their children some morals. Some of these girls come from rich homes. They are probably into this kind of business because of greed or peer pressure.”
One Thelma Odukuo who calls herself a first-class prostitute said: “Prostitution can never be eradicated in Abuja, because more girls are moving down here on a daily basis. This is where the politicians are. We all know these men know how to have a good time and they pay huge sum of money. Sometimes for just being a company for a night, the offer is mouth-watering. No prostitute is willing to leave here for another city. If they want us out of the streets, they should tell men not to patronize us, which is not possible because this is a profession that is as old as mankind.”