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Abuja residents speak on influx of sex workers in city

Some residents of Abuja, the Nigerian capital have decried the continuous influx of prostitutes in the nation’s capital.

Owing to the terrible state of the economy and the high rate of unemployment, majority of Nigerian young ladies have moved massively and aggressively into the nation’s seat of power for greener pasture.

Investigation has revealed that because most of the jobs available in the nation’s capital must be secured through the civil service rigorous due process, some of these young ladies who are mainly semi-illiterate have taken to the streets to hawk their ‘assets.’

There is, however, another category of residents who have joined the illicit trade. This category of ladies are educated Nigerians, mostly Nollywood stars who can hardly make sufficient income from their chosen career.

Another category of those in this business are female corps members posted to the capital city, but due to the high cost of living and the poor salaries they are paid where they are posted for their primary assignment, they join the illicit business. Most of these corps members are rejected by organizations and companies who mostly do not need their services.

Recently, the Abuja Environmental Protection Agency, AEPA, working in line with the directive of the Nigerian government has declared war against streets prostitution, arresting, manhandling and detaining young women alleged to be prostitutes. This has generated into heated controversies as one of the victims of such molestation and an actress, Dorothy Njemanze, alongside 3 others dragged the Nigerian government to court over molestation and violation of their fundamental human rights after they were tagged prostitutes. In its judgement, the court awarded Dorothy and the 3 others 18 million at the expense of the Nigerian government.

But some Nigerians who spoke with this reporter lamented what has now become the new capital city. One John Ojechema said, ‘’ It’s so sad that the capital city which is supposed to have decent outlook has been grossly bastardised by some prostitutes. Go to Wuse 2 at night and you will confirm what I’m saying. This is obviously one of the most ugly aspect of this so called beautiful city. It’s sad. How can some people take delight in just selling their own bodies? I believe the security agencies are not living up to their responsibilities. They need to clear these people off the streets,’’ he said.

According to pastor of one of the new generation churches in Ushafa, Evangelist Roland, ‘’ Morality is dead and buried on the altar of financial gains. This is sad, because we have reached the level almost similar to Sodom and Gomorrah. God’s anger is lurking around us in this country, particularly in Abuja. I have settled cases of most of our men abandoning their homes because of one prostitute or the other. Men of God have the responsibility of praying these daughters of eve off the streets.’’

This reporter, however, got through to Dorothy Njemanze who denied that there are prostitutes on the streets of Abuja. Njemanze said what ”we have in Abuja are just some group of people trying to form a network mutually. ” She argued that if anything like prostitution exists in Abuja or elsewhere, then it must be given a proper definition as two people and not just one person can be involved in the act. She said that in every illicit business, there is a giver and taker. She lamented the abuse of women over the act, yet the men are left to walk head high without being molested.

‘’When the issue of prostitution arises, one thing is sure. Two people are involved in the act. The court says for something to be prostitution, it must be proven, and two people must be involved – male or female. How do you now take on one person and look away when we ask questions about the other sex involved.

‘’It’s still difficult to profile people on the streets. The only reason sex workers are condemned, is on moral ground, and even at that, it’s against their fundamental human rights. You cannot tell another person what he or she should do with his/her body. That’s a violation of fundamental human rights. They have freedom of association. That was why I took legal action against the Abuja Environmental Protection Agency. If you want to know the traffic rate of one’s vagina, then we must know the traffic rate of yours too.

‘’There is the law of demand and supply in everything. It’s a circle, and apparently it’s supply meeting demand. The demand is there and the supply is there. And who is demanding and who is supplying. We must stop violating the law in the name of morality.

‘’If prostitution is an activity between two consenting adults, then there is no case. Otherwise, Nigeria will continue to violate the law of the land. It’s really wrong to criminalize some set of people.

‘’On 14th of February, a pregnant woman was being chased by civil defence officials. I saw this heavily pregnant woman scaling the fence, and I went there to ask. I was told she was an ‘ashawo.’ How on earth is she a prostitute? How can anyone prove that? We need to be factual. ECOWAS court has taken a stand that labelling people in such a manner can lead to legal action.

‘’We need to have proper definition of prostitution. If there is anything as prostitution, then the act of prostitution shows that more than one party is involved. So who is the second party?’’ She asked.

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