God forbid. I can’t sell the cloth for N2, 500. The minimum I will take is N4, 000. If you can afford it, I am ready to sell. But if you insist on paying N2, 500, you can go to Gbagi (market) and buy from there.”
If you think the above words came from a dealer in textile materials, you are very far from the answer. The material that is up for sale here is not the usual fabric made of cotton or wool. It is sex!
The merchants are female students of a tertiary institution in Ibadan, Oyo State, who have added “runs” (the term used for prostitution) to their courses.
Every evening, the female students besiege fun spots in the city, displaying their “wares” and waiting for “customers.”
Inundated with reports of the escapades of the female students, our correspondent, who was recently posted to the state, decided to observe the development in company with a friend.
His first port of call was Cottons, a fun spot located directly opposite Labod Hotel on the old Bodija Road. Entering the road from the Iyana-Bodija end of Sango, our correspondent and his tour guide were amazed at the array of young ladies in their 20s who lined the road in skimpy dresses.
While some were already set and were waiting for prospective customers, others were seen changing from the clothes they had worn from their hostels into skimpy dresses or applying make-ups at the roadside.
Once a car driver hoots and slows down, three or four young ladies will crowd around the car and begin to “advertise their wares.” Statements like “Check it out, I will do you well,” “Are you interested? Let’s discuss price,” and “My guy, what’s up?” will rent the air.
As soon as the car in which our correspondent and his guide rode stopped, a lady in knicker and T-shirt that hardly covered her big "oranges" approached them. She leaned on the car at the passenger’s side and winked at our correspondent.
“How far? Where are we heading to? If you go for me, you are going for a NAFDAC-approved worthwhile experience. In fact, you have a one-year guarantee accompanying the offer,” she said. While our correspondent and his friend laughed, the unperturbed lady, who later identified herself as Tosin, quickly opened the car door and sat at the back seat. Then the haggling started.
She said “TDB” (till day break) would cost N8, 000. Our correspondent offered to pay N2, 500, but she pointed to one of her “colleagues” beside the road and said, “Even the one standing there, who is not even as endowed as I am, will not collect that kind of money from you.”
After engaging her in a discussion for about 10 minutes, our correspondent collected her mobile telephone number and promised to call her later for an appointment. Immediately she stepped out, she approached another man. About two minutes later, our correspondent called to ascertain whether the number she provided was real. Apparently because she was still negotiating with the other man and did not want him to know the subject of her conversation on the phone, she responded, “God forbid; I can’t sell the cloth for N2, 500. The least my cloth can go for is N4, 000. If you can afford it, I am ready. My brother, if you insist on offering N2, 500, you can go to Gbagi and buy it there.”
Next, our correspondent and his companion headed to Hexagon, another fun spot located in Agbowo.
By the time our correspondent arrived at the fun spot, activities were at the peak. Ladies in skimpy cloths smoked cigarettes and drank beer with reckless abandon while others twisted their bodies to the music that blared from the big loud speakers mounted on a stage that faced the patrons.
Some of them, who were already hooked for the night, were seen sitting close to their “catch” while they consumed the drinks and suya on their tables. Others who were not yet hooked were seen going out of the big compound at intervals to “shadow” (watch) other men arriving the spot and to see whether they could be engaged.
Two young girls in their early 20s were seen making frantic efforts to stop commercial motorcycles. When our correspondent approached them, they told him that they wanted to move to another joint before it would be too late “because business is dull here.” They said they would go to Cottons or Option 24-seven.
In his bid to engage them in a discussion, our correspondent offered to buy them drinks and they agreed. In the course of the interaction, one of them, who later identified herself simply as Seun, said she decided to “do runs” because she needed money to further her education.
She said, “I have finished my National Diploma at the polytechnic and I have also completed my mandatory one-year industrial training. I have obtained the form to return to the school for my Higher National Diploma.
“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 part-time basis, she said no. She, however, showed some remorse when our correspondent outlined some of the risks involved in the “runs.”
After the drink, she exchanged telephone number with our correspondent, but she did not call back.
Some people who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity said the ladies always set weekly targets for themselves.
A welder named Bayo said some of the ladies who lived near his house in Apete engaged the services of commercial motorcyclists for their “runs.”
“I hear them talk because they sit very close to my workshop here and discuss when they are not busy. But immediately they receive a telephone call from any man or one of their friends who has a business for them, they will call the motorcyclists on the telephone.
“Before you know what is happening, the motorcyclists will come and take them away. There is no area they can not ride okada (motorcycle) to in this town. Some of them can go for a week without returning. The big handbags they carry contain everything they need from toileteries to cloths,” he said.
Apart from Cottons, Hexagon, Big Apple on Sango-Eleyele Road and Options 24-seven, there are several other fun spots on Ori-Oke in Mokola and other parts of the city. There is indeed no dull moment for fun seekers in the city.