After visiting several locations known to be red-light districts, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) through its secretary for social development, Mrs Blessing Onuh, announced a “total ban” on próstitution throughout the nation’s capital city.
A 48-hour ultimatum was issued for all women of easy virtue to vacate the city and quit the job “because they constitute a nuisance in the city”. She added a fatwa on their male patrons who ruined “some of the girls [who] are under-aged”.
Other severe measures were lined up; security agencies actually combed some of the red-light districts and made several arrests. But rather than the scourge abating, it appears undying like the proverbial phoenix.Próstitution in Abuja has metamorphosed from the conventional sedentary practice in local brothels to a sophisticated cartel of “runs babes” and the corporate realm.
The “executive” type now holds in many luxury hotels in the Abuja metropolis and the exquisite homes of the super-rich. Notorious spots include Port Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Garki; Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent and Sheraton Junction in Wuse II; and virtually all the discotheques. Even in poor neighbourhoods like Nyanyan, Mararaba and Gwagwa, little girls have joined the illicit trade.
They parade a horde of half-unclad girls and women of various ages and sizes brazenly exposing themselves, while openly and desperately beckoning on motorists and passers-by to pick them for the night. They insult, poke rude jokes and pour vituperation on those who look at them scornfully or ignore them.Indeed, for Abuja’s affluent and powerful men, it has become commonplace to place order for these women on the street or import them from other states and even from far-flung countries in the Caribbean and Asian countries.
High-society social, political functions are incomplete without a harem of these shadowy women. The import of these is that the upsurge requires a holistic framework to be able to deal with this seemingly intractable scourge. Although the focus is typically on the females, no heteroséxual próstitutes exist without willing male companions ready to pay the price for their services. Blamed for the resurgence of this social vice are the lack of job opportunities, the lack of education, and other socio-economic issues such as low self-esteem or psychosis.
The flourishing religious centres have provided no succour either. Since the menace is defying these stereotypes – for example, a former minister once confessed that our tertiary institutions were churning out more prostitutes than career-ready graduates — education and religion must be tweaked towards combating it. Parents, civil society and the traditional institutions should embrace family values and expose those who flaunt illicit wealth and inculcate the right ethos in the adolescents to discourage the evil act.
Most importantly, the government should provide jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and provide an enabling environment for the realisation of opportunities and sense of self-worth. Our young daughters and sisters must be discouraged from selling their bodies to filthy and immoral men who have nothing but money, HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases to offer.