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Lockdown: Sex workers reduces charges to attract customers, say COVID-19 not real



After the lockdown pronouncement in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 31, the National Coordinator, Nigeria Sex Workers Association, Amaka Enemo, said sex workers in the country had suspended activities.

Enemo said that although sex workers offered “essential services,” they would remain indoors because their services involved “substantial bodily contact,” adding that the association had sensitised its members to the dangers of COVID-19.

Enemo had said, “There is sensitisation across the country including within our network. Sex workers also offer essential services. However, there is no way sex workers can do their work without bodily contact. So, they are staying at home to watch what happens.

“The government has announced a lockdown and as law-abiding citizens, we will not flout the law. If the government says sit at home, we will all obey because nobody wants to die.”

But a sex worker, Blessing (not real name) defied all odds to continue in her line of business.

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“Abeg, forget that thing; (there is) nothing like coronavirus in Nigeria,” Blessing reiterated, dismissing the national coordinator’s statement. “I told you that government is just using it to steal our money.”

“Do you want short time?’ she asked in obvious desperation to get down to business.

“It is N2,000,” she concluded without waiting for a response.

After haggling back and forth, she agreed rather reluctantly to collect N1,000 offered by our correspondent.

“Hey! Na because of this COVID-19 you com dey price am like this, abi?” the light-complexioned, short lady marvelled. “Ok, let’s do it quickly so I can go outside to look for another customer,” she added, handing a small bottle of sanitiser to our correspondent preparatory to the ‘action.’

“I only use the hand sanitiser for customers like you who believe there is coronavirus in Nigeria,” she noted, indifferently.

Our correspondent at this point backed out to the disappointment of Blessing who lamented she hadn’t got any customer all day.

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“I wouldn’t have wasted my time talking to you if I knew you were not a good customer. My manager would think I had a customer already,” she thundered.

Manager, sex workers cut down charges

About to exit the brothel, some sex workers loitering around the alleyway surged forward to engage our correspondent.

One of them, about five-foot tall, donning a pink skimpy skirt and see-through top exposing the better part of her cleavage, wanted to take our correspondent to her room.

Our correspondent, however, insisted to have a discussion with her over the transaction at a corner outside the premises where a tall, lanky man in police uniform was puffing away on a cigarette. She agreed.

“Give me N3,000 for 30 minutes,” the young woman, identified only as Ruth, demanded.

As part of the terms and conditions of the deal, Ruth assured our correspondent of as many rounds as possible while the duration lasts. “But if you ‘come’ early and you can’t regain your stamina, na your luck be that o,” she added amid wry smiles.

The price was eventually reduced to N2,000 and after a second thought, she accepted the offer citing low patronage for her decision.

When the transaction appeared to have been finalised and Ruth wanted it sealed in her room, our correspondent digressed into COVID-19.

“Coronavirus no dey anywhere,” she asserted confidently. “I wan carry am sef if hin dey. No virus fit infect me because God made it clear that my body is not for the devil; it is not for sickness. It is for Him.”

She continued, “Some of my friends who believe the virus is real had left. For those of us here now, we don’t believe it exists. Let’s go inside; I will give you hand sanitiser.”

Ruth later walked away to scout for another prospective customer when she realised our correspondent was non-committal.

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