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Friday, July 29, 2011

Prostitutes flee Obalende area of Lagos because of Boko Harram

The mention of Obalende would remind people of a noisy seedy part of Lagos Island on the route to the former Federal Secretariat and seat of past military administrations in Dodan Barracks. But the Obalende in Kaduna city is a shade more notorious as a place that reeks of flesh, night time crawlers and rancorous behaviours.

In the alternative, the place is known as Crocodile city. Obalende is situated in the heart of Kaduna metropolis, even though it is officially called Maiduguri, Forcados roads, by Constitution way, and not far from the Ahmadu Bello National Stadium. It is the largest gathering place for commercial sex workers who operate on 24 hour basis either on street corners or in the numerous low end hotels with noisy music blaring endlessly onto the streets. For years, Obalende has remained a major sexpot in Kaduna with more than 11 brothels and over 20 other nondescript hotels concentrated in a densely populated neighbourhood.

This makes it easy for clients to escape from watchful eyes of spouses and friends to live momentarily in a world with women of easy virtues, given that the area never sleeps. Interestingly, many commercial sex workers come from outside this “Sin City” and are known to operate on short time basis before heading for respective homes at dawn. Usually, their mode of dressing is not only weird and banal, they are meant to expose maximum flesh that leaves nothing to the imagination.

More fascinating is the fact that their style of business is very aggressive as more creative ones employ every lewd language and tactics to snare their quarry. A sampler: “Oga see my breast, it is still standing and you can enjoy me. My customer, please do not forget me today. I promise to satisfy you to the fullest for a small amount.”

Though charges vary, the amount one pays is dependent on the perception of the sex worker on whether a prospective client is affluent or not. It also comes with demands of a client and duration of service to be rendered. On average, prices range from N1, 500.00 to N2000.00 for short time which is normally an hour, but still negotiable.

Sadly, all these activities are slowly grinding to a halt as the once booming Obalende has become a ghost town following a recent deadly attack by the Boko Haram sect who had earlier warned people to stay away from beer drinking parlours and night clubs for safety of their lives, failing which they would have themselves to blame.

Visit by Community Mirror to the area, reveals presence of heavily built men known as bouncers using metal detectors to screen clients and customers coming or going out of the few hotels and brothels that dare to remain open. As if to make good their threat, members of the sect planted an explosive device at the “Ngozi Hotel”, one of the many in the area. According to an account, the bomb was hidden in a refuse bin near the hotel, and it went off before it was detected causing mayhem and stampede.

Community Mirror gathered that the explosion killed one of the sex workers and injured seven others. A sex worker who also was a victim, told Community Mirror that she went to buy some packets of condom in a pharmacy when she heard a loud boom close to the hotel fence and a shrapnel hit her leg.

“I went to buy condoms for my business, when I heard a loud sound. On entering my room, I saw blood on my leg and my chest. I was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, but I am still feeling big pain on my leg,”she said. Investigations revealed that the explosion has caused serious confusion in streets like Oshogbo and Bonny in the neighbourhood as residents now sleep with one eye open for fear of further attacks, considering the large number of beer parlours and brothels in the area even as many sex workers are now deserting Obalende for more subdued and less popular areas and hotels.

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