A 26 years old prostitute called Shade is a Lagos State University (LASU) graduate but technically, she’s also a red-light district worker. She is one of the many prostitutes that go to do business on a daily basis at Peca (Often called Pecas), a night club situated around Allen-Opebi-Toyin Round-about, just in front of Sweet Sensation, a fast-food restaurant in Ikeja, Lagos.
Pecas is an entertainment spot where alcohol is sold at a moderate price with lots of loud music to go along with. Overtime, Pecas has grown to accommodate numerous bars and restaurants, and these in turn have small rooms attached.
These small rooms are let out on short notice and under an agreeable length of time at affordable prices to willing customers that patronize the fun spot. But these little rooms around the facility are ever seldom enough for the business of the night.
A good day for the owner of Pecas will be a Friday because the place looks like a market. The hawkers loiter around strategically, as more arrive; they make their way to the facility’s restroom to change into more comfortable wears (basically skimpy revealing tops and hot exposing pants and shorts).
As many as the rest-rooms are, many prostitutes have to do their pep-transformation outside the facility because of their numbers.
“I have to hustle, though I stay at Ajah and majority of the people I know are either based there or at Ojo, where I schooled. That’s why I don’t hustle in those areas…I make on the average N70,000 a week” Shade confesses.
Here at Pecas, prostitutes work seven times a week. Even on Sundays; the facility is used as a church in the day and at night it becomes the cathedral of call girls.
The average cost of picking up a girl for a night at Pecas circles around N5000-N10, 000 and for a short time it is between N2000- N3000, all depending on the forces of demand and supply (that said, it’s almost impossible to have a bad or slow business day at Pecas). The sexiest of the ladies bill high while the unattractive ones settle for the average rate.
The downside of the business is that these prostitutes hardly have enough rest to compensate for the torture their bodies go through in the hands of their customers.
“We are faced with the dilemma of Police chase and arrest but we are constantly developing new tricks to beat both police and other traumatic risks” Shade explains.
The network of prostitutes in this area, webs through Toyin Street, Opebi Street, Unity road, Allen/Ogundana Drive. On these streets prostitutes do not only go hunting for clients, they have also acquired properties and rent off accommodations (this way, clients do the hunting).
One of the place that should be regarded as the headquarters of heavy commercial sex in Ikeja is Ipodo, the others can like Pecas, Jolly friends, Ocean blue and White House at Unity Road (not White house in Toyin Street). There are also strippers club scattered all over Opebi/Allen Avenue.
Shade also hinted on the cover they get from some policemen; “The wise ones have strategically attached selves to some police squad, especially the squad that operates the Opebi-Allen Round-About, we affiliate ourselves to them because we can hide under their protection whenever there is a sudden police raid in the area. We don’t mind giving sex and commissions in exchange for that needed protection. We’ve had colleagues arrested and taken straight to Kiri Kiri prison to rot there”.
11:30 pm, In the midst of several buy and sell, in the midst of numerous transactions, a man with a Honda Civic Car parked in front of Sweet Sensation and beckoned on a group of prostitutes from the streets in front of Pecas.
He told the girls about a gig, a bachelor-eve party, going on at Troy club in Ogba area of the metropolis and explained in quick details of his need to supply the party with five ladies on a N5,000 budget per prostitute.
He succeeded in convincing four of them and also stepped aside to persuade another very sexy lady who was not impressed with the average price.
“Ok I’ll give you N10,000 but you mustn’t let others know” he managed to get the lady to succumb. So they all stuffed themselves into the car and zoomed off.
Every night, girls in their multitudes are transported from Pecas to feed the erotic appetite of many Lagosians. The patronage is quite high and the list of guys who indulge in the business as pimps or customers cut across all sorts; from a banker to an artisan, a political boss to a corporate boss. It’s a field game that sees the unleashing of both sex-starved men and men who have made the practice a habit.
Some of the men just want a quickie for a less fee and that’s also an interesting part of the setup. How easily adjustable the prostitute and client make out in places around the zones.
How easily kiosks and gate men’s little rooms are converted for these quick pleasures. The security gate to Emina Crescent, adjacent to Guarantee Trust Bank Plc on Toyin Street has a small security room that the security guys have made more lucrative by charging a N500 for short time.
It is so frequently used that even the police team that parades the area at night have also attached themselves for a share of the spoil. Most times they burst in and catch the sex maniacs, pants down. This way the guy can tip the policemen or get arrested. While most times they simply settle for tips from the security guys.
Another group that feeds on the growth of prostitution in the area are the houses that serve as food selling spots or retail outlets around these zones.
It is almost the routine for the call girls to get a client, buy condoms from the “aboki”, also buy indomie and suya before taking the ride with the client.
The indomie/fast food business is becoming a conglomerate. More are joining the business and others are expanding. The spaces they use for these businesses are the frontages of the regular banks and companies situated in the area.
At day time, it is for corporate activities, but at night they are kitchen for the sex peddlers. While Pecas and other red district zones around are vested with Nigerian ladies across the various states.
There’s also the careful emergence of Asian zones around Emina Crescent and Toyin Street. They are reserved sex homes for those that can afford the luxury of Asian sex. An insider from the Emina Crescent Chinese spot hints that the clients are usually political and top business mogul who can afford to part ways with N250,000 to N300,000.