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Edo Women
By Anthonia Soyingbe/Lagos

In seductive attires that leave nothing to the imagination; they barter for clients to sustain them in their trade. Deal sealed, they disappear with their clients into dingy rooms to consummate their contract. Within minutes, the transaction is over and they are back on the street to hook another willing client.

During the day, Ipodo community located in the heart of Ikeja, the capital of Lagos State, is a beehive of different commercial activities; boutiques, beauty shops, restaurant and other small and medium scale ventures pepper the environment. But at night, it is a different story as commercial sex workers of all grades, shapes, creed, colours and ages take over the arena.

Painfully, most of the young girls that sell their bodies for money were either cajoled or forced into the trade by trusted relatives or family friends.

John, a member of Assemblies of God Church, Ikeja branch recently went on evangelism to Ikeja. To his amazement; he discovered a brothel in the neighborhood where young girls are forced into prostitution. Out of passion to “revive lost souls”, he disguised as a potential client and for three months, observed the travails of these girls.

Acording to John, “I pay regularly to enter into the brothel on the pretence I am interested in the girls. I got the shocker of my life when I discovered that the girls were forced into the business.  On one fateful day, I met one of the girls and she was continually hissing as I preached. I asked her why she was hissing and she replied rhetorically, ‘are you sure there is God? If really there is a God as many preachers over the years have claimed, I am sure he would have attended to my case and delivered me from my predicament.’

According to John, the lady who sounded so tired of being a prostitute was brought to Lagos about 10 years ago by one aunty on the guise that she will sponsor her education. On getting to Lagos, she discovered that she was in Lagos for prostitution. She told John, she was not allowed to continue her education. Her first introduction to sex was very brutal as the man forcefully entered into her and to make matter worse, her aunty who is well connected in the society scolded her for not giving herself freely to the man. a decade down the road, she and her colleagues are into bondage of prostitution, they are not permitted to go out without a bodyguard to prevent them from running away. “

“They are not permitted to visit physicians when they are sick either. Instead this woman would purchase common analgesic to treat them. Despite being the ones that offer their bodies to different and strange men, they are not allowed to handle money and have no means of communicating with people outside the brothel,” John stated. The young girl who desires to start a new life also said they are under oath.

To authenticate John’s narrative, our reporter gathered that prostitution is a booming trade in Ipodo near Computer village in Lagos despite increasing dangers.  It was gathered that because of how good business is in the area, some landlords have converted their houses to lodges for the prostitutes for quick money.

Most of the sex workers live within the neighborhood. In Ipodo place, a round of sex is N500 on a good day and when business is dull, it could be as low as N300. Overnight service here is between N2, 000 and N3, 000. Those who patronise prostitutes in Ipodo are bus conductors, shop owners at Computer Village, drivers and area boys.

Ipodo is a home to the good, the bad and the ugly. Religion and commerce play a major role in Ipodo. Right in the center of the street is a shrine dedicated to Satan otherwise known as  Ojubo Esu The shrine, built with blocks, is decorated with pieces of white cloth that have long turned brown with stains. Pots containing various sacrificial items also adorne shrine.

Interestingly, Ipodo is also home to countless number of brothels. To the ignorant, only a few brothels are located in Ipodo. But to discerning minds, almost every house in Ipodo serves as a brothel. The place is synonymous with Biblical Sodom.

A landlord in Ipodo, who pleaded anonymity, told Daily Independent that it is more lucrative to convert houses to lodgers for prostitutes than to tenants who will not pay rent at the end of the month.

One of the shop owners who operates a boutique in Ipodo said, Ipodo is also a hideout for criminals who are often aided by security operatives  “I am not a happy man at all. If I had money, I would have moved out to rent a decent shop elsewhere. This is a cursed environment and to worsen everything, security operatives are aware of the ugly happenings here. There are many untagged brothels here. Prostitutes and criminals here have cartel, I don’t bring my children to my shop because I don’t want anything that will influence them negatively.”

Women of easy virtue line up the  streets and some can even be seen changing into their work clothes under the trees as early as 7pm.  Words such as “Oga, come now, I go do you well”, are the kinds a prospective customer hears from these merchants of the flesh. They offer both short and overnight services to willing customers. If you are interested in short service, all a willing customer needs do is to take his catch to a nearby guest house after a price has been agreed on.

A community leader and a landlord in the area, who identified himself as Chief , lamented that some shylock people now convert their residential building to brothels. He confirmed that people bring very small girls from other states for prostitution. “It is very unfortunate that some people have sold their conscience because of money. They brought these young girls between age 13 and 18 for prostitution in Lagos”. He lamented that the mode of dressing of these prostitutes call for concern as they may serve as bad influence on children.

“We want the government to come to our aid by flushing out these prostitutes from the brothels. We don’t want them in our neighborhood as they are bad influence on our children”.

He lamented that efforts of the men of the police to curb the menace have not yielded result. “Police always come to harass them and take them away, but they always resurface after some hours. We believe the police cannot handle the situation”. He, however, called on the state and the local government to intervene. “We want government to revoke the license of such buildings. The buildings are residential but these people now used them for commercial purposes, so the best thing is for the government to revoke their licenses, he stated.

Though the trade is lurid, just as other trades, it is driven by profit maximization. The tool is the body and unimaginable dimension of sex is the name at Ipodo. Ipodo has always been known for Sodomy and fornication. Needless to say that prostitution is thriving in Ipodo.

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