analysisBy Ebenezer Edohasim
IT is a thing of joy to see parents feeling happy that their daughters are in various institutions of higher learning scattered all over our country, acquiring knowledge that will shape their future and make them great women in time to come. And naturally, parents should have no cause to doubt the good behaviour of their daughters, especially when it comes to issue of chastity, if that child was properly brought up to fear God, respect other people and to see her body as a temple of God that should not be defiled no matter the pressure.
However, if the investigations we carried out for some weeks in selected cities on campus prostitution, is to be used as yard stick, then parents, including the wealthy among us should have a rethink as to where their precious daughter, so calm, innocent looking and highly respectable is at this moment, because prostitution on our campuses have gone beyond the level of past time, it is now a highly organized and digitalized business not only practiced by the female students, but also by some boys who act as pimps to the female students and sometimes themselves service the pervert needs of wealthy homosexuals.
According to our reports, this ugly incident of campus prostitution creped into our campuses in the late 70s, heightened in the 80s, gained prominence during the military era and has since then been graduating from one level of pervasion to another.
In fact, it was the return to civil rule with all the glamour and paraphernalia attached to politics that actually made our female undergraduates to embrace prostitution. At that time, it was practiced with some caution because the girls were somehow afraid not to be noticed that they were into such shameful act, not approved at all by the society.
So the mode of operation was as much as possible secretive and somehow confidential. What usually happened then was that any city harbouring higher institutions where politicians are having their convention or any other meeting was usually a target. Before the politicians arrived, their contact who could be a girl or boy will take briefings on the number of student hawkers required, the statistics of the type of girl each politician wanted and the services the girls are expected to render, which actually determined the price.
It is important to note here that because of the agreement to protect some sources who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, we are going to use imaginary names in some cases in order not to breach agreement and to protect our sources, which is very important to us.
So one of our sources, Grace, informed us that, "The willing girls are carefully chosen to avoid sell out. It is almost like a cult because the girls are put under oath of secrecy to protect members. If the clients, be they politicians or top businessmen require short -time sexual entertainment by our girls, we charge N10, 000 per client and if the girls shall sleep over, it goes for N20, 000 per girl. However, we have what is called wild party which could hold at any time of the day according to the wishes of the clients. This wild party is really wild as anything goes, including the girls going nude to the admiration of the clients and having wild sex collectively within the closet."
The above account by an operator of this campus prostitution ring is just one of the information we gathered in the cause of our investigations. In the above scenario, the girls did not move outside their campus arena because their clients came to town for one meeting or the other and decided to go wild on the laps of these bad female students who decided to turn themselves into sex tools, just for money. But we are talking of a situation where female students in Enugu, Port Harcourt, Aba, Lagos, Calabar, Warri, Ibadan, and Abeokuta among others, will invade Abuja, a journey of over five hours at the least, abandoning their studies for weeks just to hawk their bodies to willing men for money.
On the other hand, these merchants of flesh in Abuja who are afraid to be seen within their base by people who know them normally storm Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Owerri etc, to engage in this notorious trade mostly practiced at night.
For parents who might want to see if their daughters are involved in this shameful act but do not know the possible places to visit, we shall expose some of these hide- outs for them to know. In Abuja, our capital city, these bad girls parade their trades in all night clubs scattered in and around the city, with the most popular being Grand Mirage Night Club in Port Harcourt Crescent, off the notorious Gimbiya Street, where the Apo six traders were extra judicially killed.
Another busy arena where you can see these girls in large numbers is Rita Lori Night Club, located in Garki area, and also along Lagos Street that is not far from Rita Lori. The Lagos Street is a long stretch of road in Abuja and you keep seeing these girl as you stroll along, in various shapes and sizes, wearing skimpy dresses which flaunt the most seductive parts of their bodies, which could make a highly pious man to become weak at least for some minutes before overcoming this highly temptatious radical exhibition of the internal anatomy of the female homosapien. Still others ply their trade along the road which leads to airport road, near the Abuja City Gate and the National Stadium.
Apart from these girls invading the clubs, they also rent rooms in hotels where about five of them could secretly turn to brothels as they give chance to each other if a client shows up to ease tension with any of them. Some of them in the satellite towns like Kubwa, Nyanya, Lugbe, Kuje, Gwagwalada, Karu, Gwarinpa and Maraba among others do rent rooms in some already established brothels from where they hit the clubs in towns at night, where they expect to make more money from rich guys who come to enjoy themselves in clubs.
In Port Harcourt, there are also night clubs and relaxation points all over the garden city where these girls invade at night to catch fun and make money. But the most popular and patronized is a place called Ojuelegba, in front of Presidential Hotel directly under the fly-over.
Though government has threatened to close the place down, people still converge there to catch fun. In this area like in most joints, it is not only flesh that is sold but also hard drugs of any kind. Just name it as long as you have your money, it is given to you. You could also get these girls in Port Harcourt inside the Government Reserved Area (GRA), near Dannic Hotels, off the popular Waterline building, which is a long stretch of road where these girls line up to entice clients.
In Lagos these bad spots are uncountable as entertainment arena, including nude clubs where some of these girls who have graduated to masters in this flesh trade dance naked to please men for monetary compensation. The areas highly visited by fun seekers are Allen Avenue and Toyin Street in Ikeja, the long Opebi Road leading to Sheraton Hotel where they line up, waiting for interested partners to carry them and Ojuelegba area, mostly along Ayilara Street. Even along the beaches in Lagos, Bar Beach, Takwa Bay, Eleko Beach Kuramo Beach, all in Lagos Island, these fun seekers and their accomplices gather at night to enjoy.
In fact, when we visited one of the beaches, some who could no longer control their urge and passion were having fun right inside the client's car with some also cooling off inside rented huts barely covered with palm fronts which enables those with eagle eyes to see the game going on inside, capped with all the distractive sexy noises in terms of moans and groans.
In Owerri, the dimly lighted stretch which leads to the popular Concord and All Seasons Hotels are the area of concentration for these girls, including the frontages of some hotels whose management are not strict in monitoring the presence of these girls. And in Enugu, the Polo Park is where it happens as we accosted some students from some of the higher institutions there who came to solicit for bed mates just for money. Also off the Ogui Road where the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium is located is an open area where canopies were used to provide shelter for those who came around to drink and seek sex partners for the night.
The fact is that in all the towns in Nigeria there are places where these girls gather to have fun. But one may be propelled to ask are these students really students? The fact according to Jennifer(not real name),is that, "Some of us like myself are real students who because of various reasons engage in prostitution in order to meet up in school, why some are professional students."
She described professional students as those girls who never gained admission into schools but used money to buy off bed spaces from bonafide students from where they engage in commercial sex, sometimes claiming before their clients that they are students. According to her, "These professional students could stay years on campus doing their trade and because men prefer to go to bed with students than engaging professional dirty local harlots, these girls could do anything including forging identity cards just to have the status of studentship conferred on them in order to improve their rating before men. However, that does not rule out the fact that some of us are real students."
Asked if her parents knew of her escapades, she thundered, "Brother, you want to kill me, if they know Iam finished. I came into this dirty deal due to peer pressure and greed. I pray that until God helps me to quit this job, I shall not see someone who knew me. I once saw a man from my town talking to my girl friend and I had to run the race of my life before he sets his eyes on me."
Another student, Chioma, (not real name), told us that she entered into this trade because according to her she is fatherless. "I lost my dad when I finished my Senior School Certificate Examinations and when I gained admission into the university, my mother also has five of my siblings to carter for.
Initially, I was managing with what she was able to give me from her small business until I could no longer bother her with my wants. One of my friends talked me into commercial sex and painfully, I took it as the last option. My mother is not aware of what Iam doing to even assist her train my junior ones as I lied to her that I do some menial jobs on campus to help her. I only ask God for forgiveness and hope that nothing happens to me before I graduate next year."
Yet another victim called Gift was full of what appeared like remorse during our interaction. As she stated, "I really don't think that I embraced prostitution because of lack as my parents could afford my basic needs and even beyond.
"My case was that of bad company and the urge to live above one's means and be seen as a big girl on campus. I have reached the point where I feel ashamed of myself and cry out my heart when Iam alone, still the next moment I joined the next available flight or car as it were to hit Abuja and start this nonsense again. I think my case is either a spiritual problem or an addiction for which I ask God to liberate me."
Bose, said that she is afraid of mistakenly contracting sexually transmitted diseases or even the dreaded Human Immuno Virus,(HIV), which causes the Acquired Immuned Deficiency Syndrome(AIDS), getting pregnant by mistake, or being utilized by ritualists for diabolic purposes. Asked if she plays the game flesh to flesh, she screamed, "Do you want to kill me? I insist on condom, but the fact is that some rough guys can burst the condom during the game, especially if one became very dry and in split seconds the guy could lose control and discharge inside my private part during condom burst, thereby putting me at risks.
Again, one prays not to fall into the hands of bad men who use girls for rituals." As she narrated in fear, there was one of them called Angel who was approached at the Rita Lori Night Club by a client who told the girl that though he was interested in having short- time which means a quick casual sex, he could not go back to his hotel room for the fun and offered to have fun with the girl at a nearby botanical garden for N10, 000. Being good money for just some minutes fun, Angel agreed and hopped into the wealthy man's jeep.
After having fun with her, two men emerged from the bush and assisted the man to kill Angel. Her private part, tongue, eyes, breasts, fingers and toes were removed. However, as the criminals were going back to the jeep, some vigilant police men arrested them only to discover the human parts of the late Angel. Bose confessed that she almost quit the job out of fear but when she overcame the shock after some days, she started coming again to seek her income but now with more caution.
According to criminologists, crimes are usually related as in some cases, one crime may engineer the other. We therefore observed that it was possible for these girls to do anything to get money from their unfortunate clients, not minding the risks their action has exposed their clients. Some of them do drug their unsuspecting clients by sprinkling deadly sleeping substances into their drinks or foods so that they enter into deep slumber which will give the girl opportunity to steal the client's money and other valuables while the man is in deep sleep. A very typical incidence happened before me in 2004 at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), owned hotel called NUJ Motel, in Garki Abuja which unfortunately is defunct. On that ugly day, I lodged there in my capacity then as the National Treasurer of the NUJ. At about 2.00am, I noticed through my window that a girl was stalking away like a lioness about to pounce on its pray, but this time with some elements of fear in her, while her shoes were in her hands as she tip- toed silently towards the steps. I suspected fowl play and immediately used my intercom to alert the front office security. When the girl was interrogated as to why she had to leave that early morning, she replied that she has finished her contract with her client and therefore was free to go back to the club. When the security insisted that she had to go back to her client's room to ascertain the man's safety before she leaves, she refused and was physically carried to the man's room where it was discovered that she drugged the man. Police were invited and on searching the girl, $5,000, N100, 000 and the man's expensive wrist watch and three telephones were found in her bag.
The man was rushed to the clinic, while the girl in question who claimed to be a student from a university in Lagos was handed over to the police. Men who engage these girls should never leave their drinks or food to go and urinate while any call- girl is with them because in some cases, some of the victims don't live to tell their story.
One vital question to ask is how they cope with the rigors of academics when some of them stay away for weeks while serious lectures are going on in their various schools. To all of them, it is not a problem at all as Gift recounted, "We usually have confidants whom we shower with financial inducement to copy notes for us and maneuver to make sure he or she signs the attendance register for us. But for some stubborn lecturers, we pray that they pick interest in our body which we could quickly and gladly give them in order to pass their papers.
However, some hard lecturers who know that we do make some money from our outings may demand money in order to pass us or both money and our body. This settlement with our body or cash in order to pass our papers is called sorting. Whichever way, the end justifies the means and the most important thing is to pass the examination, no matter what one offered in exchange."
We were shocked to discover that the level of monitoring parents give to their daughters is highly disappointing. For some parents to accept that they have never visited their daughters in school for once is a very big challenge. Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adeola, whose daughter is in one of the schools in the South-East admitted that she has never visited her ward at school, though she is billed to graduate next session. Even another parent Mrs. Stella Anika when our topic was introduced to her screamed, "God forbid, my daughter is in school, she cannot be on the streets." But reminded that the girls we met were born by women like her, she admitted that she has actually not done well by not knowing where her daughter is periodically and promised that though her daughter cannot misbehave, "You have challenged me as a parent and I have to be more thorough."
Lamenting on this ugly incidence, Rev. Felix Chikwendu of the Church of God Mission, Lagos said that both parents and the church have failed in this regard to guide our daughters properly to prevent them from embracing vices.
"Our gospel has been watered down that we have lost some values. What kind of girls do you think will come out from a church where the wearing of clothes which exposes the seductive parts of females is not questioned, or what kind of behaviour would a girl whose mother does not question how she got money to update her wardrobe as if she is a worker, whereas she is still a student."
Rev Chikwendu suggested that our churches should go back to the preaching of the old which emphasized salvation and sound moral values and spend less time preaching prosperity which sometimes make some people to backslide, even as he charged parents to pay more attention on their daughters lifestyle to know when they are going astray.
Mr. Kanayo Omofuma, a beautician said that if the indignant females claimed that they entered into campus prostitution because of harsh times, what of the children of the rich, one of who was arrested as a nude dancer in Lagos when government raided some nude night clubs in Lagos. He said that 75% of the girls who got into campus commercial sex did so for greed, peer influence, lack of good upbringing and inadequate parental monitoring. He advised parents to beam more searchlights on the activities of their daughters by especially knowing who their friends are and what they do when they are together.
"A situation where a lecturer living close to me did not know that his daughter whom he thought was in the university was just there wasting her time, misbehaving for seven years before the parents discovered what was happening is really frightening and wondered that if a whole lecturer's ward could be found wanting, then other parents should monitor their daughters twenty four hours before they regret their lives.
We also got across to some school administrators whose responsibility it is to guide and monitor these female students and if possible prevent them from engaging in campus prostitution. At the University of Lagos Akoka, the Dean, Students Affairs, Professor Harrison Dele Longe said that, "Parents should be blamed for abandoning their daughters without monitoring them to know what they are doing in school. They should check what their wards are doing in school." Professor Longe also lashed at the churches and mosques for failing to impact sound moral values and discipline on the youths, especially the females who are largely the victims of campus prostitution. He accused preachers of being only interested in tithes and other material acquisition to the detriment of the salvation of souls. Though he admitted that campus prostitution is a reflection of moral decadence in our society, it could only be minimised and not totally eradicated, he said. He disclosed that as one of the ways to arrest the monster, "University of Lagos has mandatory 65% attendances which every student must attain before sitting for examination. "Any student who fails to meet this mandatory attendance will not sit for the papers and those who keep failing out of distraction like prostitution or cultism are asked to withdraw from our university."
At the Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos, the Head of Public Relations Mr. Adekunle Adams admitted that campus prostitution exists and is a serious social problem on our campuses across the nation, though he also agreed that some girls who are not students equally pose as students to attract clients. To check this unpalatable trend at Yaba Tech. he said they also have mandatory 70 per cent attendance which every student must meet without which he or she will not be allowed to sit for any paper. Mr. Adams disclosed that parents cannot be entirely blamed for this malady because, "A bad student remains bad unless something drastic happens to change him or her. Some children are just bound to be nasty no matter how you monitor them and this element of freedom they enjoy at school get into the heads of some of them and make them misbehave in school."
On the remedies to this problem, Mr. Adams asked the government to decide whether to legalize prostitution or not, for once it is legalized, people will stop worrying themselves on the vexed issue. He would want parents to have rules and policies to checkmate their wards just like he cautioned parents to know the peer group their daughters belonged to and asses the behaviour of members. Mr. Adams equally advised schools to engage in physical security by ensuring that there is light all over the campus and constant security patrols to prevent a situation where he said filled condoms used by clients and some bad girls litter in some dark spots on campus. These condoms were probably used by clients both within and from outside who capitalized on the dark spots to have fun with these loose and avaricious girls right there on campus, after a deal has been struck between the two partners in crime. Finally, the image maker suggested that event managers, who organize these girls as sex tools for chief executive officers, top businessmen and politicians should be arrested, prosecuted and sentenced accordingly. He advocated for strict implementation of the character aspect in the phrase, "Having been found worthy in Character and Learning", usually read at convocations before degrees are awarded to graduands. According to him, "A student found worthy in learning but who failed the character test should not graduate". In a radical departure, a lecturer from the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu who spoke on condition of anonymity blamed his colleague randy lecturers for the decay, even as he accepted too that the family system and societal values have been neglected for other mundane pursuit, thereby encouraging immorality like campus prostitution. According to him, it is an aberration for a lecturer to go to bed with his student in order to pass her or worst still collect money for that same purpose.
This don blamed the school disciplinary measures which he said most of the times favour lecturers when genuine reports of sexual harassment are reported by victims. He stated that in most cases, "These girls graduate from sleeping with randy lecturers to full scale commercial sex, therefore more punitive measures should be meted to dons found guilty of spoiling these young girls and pushing them into prostitution."
Debunking the claim that it is hardship that leads some girls into campus prostitution, a former student of the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu, Mrs. Deborah Edohasim said that, "It is greed and the urge to belong to senior babes in school that pushed most girls into campus prostitution, including those whose parents could afford anything they needed on campus. When I was a student, I had two girls who lived on the same street with me. One was from a very poor background, while the other was from a very comfortable home. But unfortunately, two of them were involved in campus prostitution as they traveled from Enugu to Onitsha, a distance of about 120 kilometers to hang out in night clubs for money. So if we could say that it was poverty that pushed the poor girl into it, what of the girl from a rich home? The funny aspect was that the girl from a poor home attempted to recruit me into the game and by the time I scolded her, she begged me not to expose her as I refused to join them. My advice to mothers is that they should make their daughters their friends so that they can open up to their mothers at ant time on any issue. Campus prostitution is real and must be fought to a stand-still."
Corroborating what Mrs. Edohasim said that it is not only poverty that pushed some of the girls to the vice, it was discovered when security agents on the orders of the Lagos State governor raided some nude night clubs within Lagos city that a daughter of a local government chairman was among the nude dancers arrested by the police.
By any standard in the Nigeria contest, a local government chairman is a millionaire at least, so what could a daughter of a council boss who could even convince her dad to award contract to someone so that she could get her own share, doing in the club as a nude dancer, if she is not perverted, addicted to some vices or a victim of spiritual manipulation, perhaps from the marine world. This particular girl and others in her class perhaps see commercial sex as a habit which they say once formed, is very difficult to quit, or they are simply super sex machines or maniacs who cannot stay a day without having the feeling of a man's sugar stick inside their tunnel, and therefore actually need some spiritual assistance, which their parents should have discovered, if they were giving them close marking.
Providing what looks like the devil's alternative to the problem of campus prostitution, Miss Ani Daniels advised indignant female undergraduates who cannot foot their bills on campus to look for mature and sensible sugar daddy at least to run away from the shameful act of going to bed with as many as ten men in a day. According to her, "Though this suggestion is not the best, it is still better than commercial sex, with all the risks associated with it as some of the girls that were lucky were made by these sugar daddies that not only provided for them while in school, but got good jobs for them on graduation or better still assisted them to set up their desired business venture."
In fact, our findings also show that the boys have equally fallen victims to some wealthy cult figures who engage them in homosexual activity in exchange for money.
These homosexual hide- outs though could be found in some cities in Nigeria, they are mostly located in the north, especially in the ancient city of Kano, where it is alleged that some big shots who engage these boys in sodomy did so for ritual purposes. In the face of the risks faced by those who engage in campus prostitution, what should we do to eradicate this social problem which is rendering mostly our female undergraduates and their few male counterparts useless to themselves, family and society at large?
Apart from the various solutions offered by those who spoke to us during these investigations, we honestly ask if the government is really out to eradicate campus prostitution. We asked that question because if the security agents whose duty it is to check prostitution will end up collaborating with the perpetrators, then we are in trouble.
Sometimes ago, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola irked by the rate at which nude night clubs were springing up within the city of Lagos ordered security agents to raid and close them down.
However, after raiding and arresting the nude dancers, security agents who did the raiding ended up sleeping with the same girls they were meant to correct and nothing has been heard about that case as investigation showed that the nude clubs which have some of these female undergraduates as dancers are warming up back to business. So who is fooling who?
The churches and mosques have herculean tasks in imbibing the culture of divine discipline to ensure that these girls have the fear of God in them. According to the dean of Students' Affairs, University of Lagos, Professor Harrison Dele Longe, "A situation where we have churches and mosques almost at every corner in our cities, preaching prosperity, while our youths are destroying themselves is not good.
If you do not know the room of your ward in school or the particular yard where she is staying off campus, how can you monitor her through surprise visits, even nocturnal trips, to know where your precious daughter is and when she has joined bad company?
It is important too for parents to know how much they give their daughters as pocket money to equate it with what they parade in terms of wears like clothes and shoes so that the parents will question their daughters if they discover that they were living above their means.
Most importantly, why every thing humanly possible must be done to stop campus prostitution is to save our standard of education which has fallen drastically.
With constant strikes in our ivory towers which made students to lose months of academic activities, only to be rushed through crash programmes to end the session, our standard of education has nosedived and our degrees are not respected by foreign universities and employers.
The student prostitutes are worse hit as they cannot defend the certificates they parade which were gotten through the power of the female anatomy.
Obviously, it is the collective responsibility of parents, churches, mosques, schools, lecturers, government and other concerned Nigerians to ensure that campus prostitution is eradicated so that our society shall not be inhabited by future mothers and fathers who are already morally loose to the detriment of our generation.