By Kayode Aroba and Ijeoma Okeke
A 38-year old prostitute who identified herself as Favour Emem has revealed that some of her colleagues in the flesh hawking business sell condoms used by their customers to internet fraudsters called Yahoo boys, who are also ritualists.
Favour Emem and her fellow commercial sex worker, Wonuola Ibrahim in separate chats with AN24.net spoke about their motivations, fears and trade.
What’s your name?
My name is Favour Emem. I am from Akwa Ibom
Do you live in Lagos?
Yes I do but I travel every year to Akwa Ibom. I just came back. I am 38 years old
Are you married?
I am not married. But I have five boys. Some are in Lagos while some are in Akwa Ibom. I am the one taking care of them.
How long have you been in this business?
Since the November of last year. Our business is even based on choice. When I see some customers and I don’t like them, I don’t go with them. It is not everyone that comes to us that we will say yes to. Personally, once it is 12 am or 1 am, I don’t step out. I mention high prices when I am not interested in people that approach me especially Yahoo guys. I don’t like them, so that’s why I use the high charges to chase them away. Yahoo guys always beg me that they need used condoms, and that they will pay me 200k or 300k. But I can’t do it. Some of my colleagues give them used condoms, but my conscience won’t allow me to do that. I don’t like this place and I pray God should help me. They are not using the used condoms for good. That’s why I can’t be a part of it. Everything is not money. I even know that prostitution is a sin because Bible condemns it. But there is no means to survive. You see, in this Nigeria no man gives you money without sleeping with you. Some will even sleep with you without giving you money. Is it not better to be in the street? You do it and collect the money and gather it to open up a business and then stop the trade.
How long do you want to do this business?
I am not staying too long because this business is not in my mind. I will leave this year by God’s grace. I don’t really like the business because there is no fun in it.
What kind of business were you doing before this?
I sold fairly used clothes. I would go to Cotonu to buy them but along the line Customs seized them. I wasn’t the only one in the business. We were like five ladies but they had brothers and people who supported them. So, they continued in the business. But I didn’t have any one to help me. That’s why I had to start this sex business to gather money for it again. All the people I have been calling to help me want to sleep with me. That’s why I am in the business.
How much do you charge?
It depends…per night. I charge 15k, 10k but Yahoo boys pay higher. They pay 30k, 55k. Short time (quick sex) is between 5k and 7k. But everything is about the power of bargaining. We have rooms, we take our customers to, as we can’t do our sex business on the road because police will collect the money we will make from our hands. That’s why we prefer the room.
What can you say about how the pandemic has affected the business?
When I joined the business, it was after the lockdown. My colleagues told me business was thriving. But it is no longer booming as much. The people who patronise well now are Yahoo boys.
From 12am till dawn I don’t leave this place. Some customers want me to leave with them to another location but I don’t go with them for safety purpose.
How do you cope and know the wrong customer like the ritualist?
You will know, if you have been into this game.
Some of us use charms. But I don’t. They will feel strange and weird about the person and they end up not going out with the person.
I go to church every Sunday. The fact that I am doing this business doesn’t mean I should stop going to church.
What advice can you give your child ?
Someone cannot come to me and start preaching for me to leave the job without showing assistance. I will not listen except if they want to show assistance
Do you enjoy the sex?
No I don’t. It’s the money that is important. Once we start having sex, the only thing on my mind is for them to be fast, so I should leave and get another customer. When we are in love, having sex is just different from the sex business. Some of us have boyfriends. That’s why if a customer wants to waste our time, we end up pushing them away. Our target is the money and before anything, they pay.
Do law enforcement agents disturb you?
Yes, officers from Area F Police Station. They like money. They don’t allow people to rest. Their problem is just too much. And they come by 11 am and 12am in their black bus. They collect between 10k and 15k. When they are around, we are always running.
90% of us are not happy with the job.
Do you observe COVID-19 Protocols?
Yes, we make use of our nosemasks. We don’t kiss at all. Wear your condom, have sex and go your way. Even if they are paying us well, we are careful. Since we charge the guys, we have to provide condoms ourselves. But Yahoo boys requesting for condoms is just what happens every day. Some of us don’t care about it because of the money involved.
What is your name?
My name is Wonuola Ibrahim,
How old are you?
I am 34 years old
How did you start this business? What made you go into it?
The business is good. I am a caterer. I learnt the catering business from someone. I started doing this business last year along with the catering business because of the huge financial burden on me.
How has the business been for you?
Some times in any business, you will be happy and sometimes you will be sad. It is not every day that there are good sides. If you have a person that can connect you with clients, you will be fine.
Once you are good at what you do, people will recommend and always patronise you.
Do you enjoy having sex with people,and do you have a boyfriend?
I can’t say anything about it, because sex is different. If I have someone I love, the way we will have sex will be different from someone I don’t like. But I don’t I have a boyfriend because I am a single mother. I have a daughter. She is 13 years old.
Do you live around Allen Avenue?
No I don’t. I lodge at Balogun. I am from Ogun state in Abeokuta. I am based in Lagos. So, every weekend, I go back to Abeokuta. I started this business in January 15 2020. But I was a caterer before I started.
How was the patronage then and now?
Someone might walk up to me and all of a sudden say he doesn’t like fat women. But because of respect, he will give me money without having sex with me. There are times I go out with a man who just wants me to be talking, playing, laughing and he still pays me. But some would have sex with me and pay.
The one I prefer is for them not to have sex with me but still pay me.
How long do you want to do this business?
No, I don’t pray to stay long in the business. I pray God will help me and send someone to take me away from the business but I am not leaving yet.
So, how did you fare during lockdown?
I was just at home, eating and sleeping. Everywhere was dry. Even my customers that have my number, none of them called me because they were scared. But now I am okay, thank God. We are coping bit by bit. Sometimes business is good and sometimes it is not
How do you protect yourself from the negative side of the business; from ritualist Yahoo guys?
Anytime I am about to step out, I cover myself with the blood of Jesus, and pray that customers like me. I prefer customers that would pay N5,000 to those ones that want to pay 100,000 because I am not sure if the man paying higher has a diabolical intention. So as I step out to go for business, I pray to God. And when I am back safely, I thank God. I am a Muslim but I pray in the Christian way because I don’t know how to pray the Muslim way. When I get married, I would belong to the religion of whoever marries me.
When you were a caterer, were you also engaged in this sex business?
No I was not. I just joined last year. But I am still doing my catering business. If people need food, I cook and deliver my service to them. Once, I am doing my catering business, I don’t do the sex business until I am done. My catering business comes first. Once I am doing the catering thing, I carry myself so high and well.If a customer that patronises my catering business sees me in this sex business, I would explain to them what happened to me.