It is no news that the economic situation in Nigeria has gone beyond what ordinary citizens can continue to endure.
Nigeria has in the last four years slipped into recession twice, thereby leaving the ordinary citizens to wallow in abject poverty.
Currently, food prices have skyrocketed three times what they used to be in the last one year. A sachet of pure water now goes for N20 and in some places, N50.
Petroleum, which is the life wire of the economy, is now sold at N162 per litre, and this has led to drastic increment in transport fare. Sadly, the salary and wages of workers remain unchanged, no increment.
This unpleasant situation, according to reports, has forced many single mothers and teenagers into prostitution for survival.
Discreet investigation by reporters revealed that the some of the single mothers, who had hitherto been surviving on menial jobs, can no longer sustain themselves, thereby turning to prostitution for survival.
Similarly, more teenagers are venturing into the odd trade due to the hardship in the country. Some of them, who spoke with undercover reporter, said they ventured into what they described as ‘corporate prostitution’ when their parents could no longer cater for them as a result of hardship in the country.
Favour, a teenager whose usual spot is Lakers Hotel, Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos, said she bought into the trade when her mother could no longer cater for her.
The 17-year-old girl, who said she joined the league of friends that survive on the job, charges N5000 for a night service with a man. She said:
“It is not a big deal. I don’t see myself doing this for long. It is just to survive. Things are hard and my mother cannot afford feeding me again with my siblings since our father left us long ago. I need to find a way to survive.”
Findings from an attendant in Lakers Hotel revealed that Favour also shuttles between other hotels in Ikorodu.
Another teenager at Omologode Estate, Ikorodu, Ronke, claimed her mother was aware of her involvement in prostitution.
Ronke, who is an SS2 student of a school in the area, is also into ‘corporate prostitution.’ She charges between N2000 and N3000 for a ‘short time’ service.
She revealed that she was only engaged in the illicit trade on part-time basis.
“I am a student. I just use this to meet up and that’s why I only do short time,” she said.
Asked about her mother’s reaction to what she does, Ronke claimed her mother was aware, adding,
“She too struggles for survival. Things are not easy in this country. We must all find a way to survive. My mother’s business collapsed during the lockdown as she used all the money to feed. So, what do you expect? We can’t sit at home to die of hunger.”
Further findings revealed that some single mothers have also been taking to prostitution to make ends meet due to hardship.
Most of them now hang around hotels, clubs and bars to seek patronage from men frequenting those spots to unwind.
Checks at various clubs and bars at Ojodu Berger, Ikorodu, Ketu, Egbeda, Alapere and Adeniji Adele revealed more single mothers have been venturing into prostitution to make ends meet.
Bolanle, a single mother with a daughter in the Mushin area of Lagos, is a tailor by profession. But she said her meagre revenue could no longer sustain her and her child and so was forced into prostitution.
According to her, she squats with a friend with whom she shares the payment of rent for a single room, which she also uses for her tailoring work. She said:
“I have tried to go into other things but no capital. The little I realise from what I do is what I use to feed my only daughter. Things are so hard in the country to the extent that I can’t feed myself and my daughter three times daily.”
Bolanle, however, said her 10-year-old daughter was not aware she had been engaged in prostitution.
“How will you let your daughter know such a thing? Is it a thing to be proud of? What I tell her is that I have a night shift in my office, but my friends know about this. As I am here with you, if we leave here together, they will all know because I believe they must know my movement for safety purpose,”
she told the reporter, who had pretended to want to patronise her.
At Equal Rights Bar, Ojodu Berger, another single mother, Adenike, spoke with the undercover reporter. Adenike, who claimed to regularly visit the bar from Sango, Ogun State, said she had been in the business since the death of her husband six years ago. According to her:
“Do you want to live in this area and do this work? That is not possible. How do you expect the neighbours to see you? It is better you move out where you will be free.”
Asked if the hardship in the country led her into the illicit business, Adenike said,
“My friends helped me with this after my husband’s death. I don’t see myself having another husband. I don’t want division among my children; so it’s better I remain a widow and move on.”
She also claimed to have sponsored her last born with proceeds from her prostitution business.
At Ketu Alapere and Adeniji Adele areas of Lagos, more single mothers were discovered to be engaging in the prostitution business.
Findings from residents around Bakare Street, Alapere, revealed they often visit a popular hotel in the area named House 50. But efforts to lure some of them into discussions were not successful.
Meanwhile, at Agboyi road, Alapere, a single mother who refused to mention her name, said:
“Everyone now source for survival due to the hardship in the country. Imagine how much we buy a plastic paint of garri before and how much we buy it now. I was a sweeper in a school for several years, yet nothing to show for it. What will I buy with N10, 000 in a month with the situation of things in the country now?”
Speaking on patronage in the prostitution business, she said since she turned to the illicit trade, she had been participating along with her friends in a weekly contribution of N20,000.
She, however, blamed the current government for her ordeal, saying she wouldn’t have engaged in prostitution but for the harsh economic situation.
Speaking on the issue, the Lagos State Coordinator of Child Protection Network, Ngozi Okoro, blamed parents for the involvement of teenagers in prostitution.
According to her, it is the duty of parents to provide for their children, no matter the situation of the economy.
“I will not take excuse from parents for either intentionally or unintentionally making their children to engage in such a shameful thing. I will implore the government and law enforcers to apprehend the teenagers and trace their parents. Parents are expected to provide for their children, no matter the situation of things,”
Okoro, also urged the government to adopt good economic policies that will make life easier for the ordinary citizen.
On her part, the founder of His Marvellous Grace Support Foundation, Mrs Oluwadamisi Tayo-Ladega, said,
“Government must revive the economy and make life easier for average citizens. Though I am not defending the people that went into prostitution, the fact remains that common citizens are suffering. Government must come up with solutions before the unexpected happens in Nigeria.”
Tayo-Ladega, who is also a United Kingdom-based public health expert, advised parents and guardians to do more in giving good life to their children and wards.