Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ABUJA: The Prostitution War?

Apo auto mechanics declare war on sex hawkers
* They can’t stop us, prostitutes fire back *Apprentices unhappy with attempt
Waru Village, near Malaysia Garden, along Apo roundabout-Kpegi expressway was almost turned to a theatre of war two weekends ago when auto mechanics relocated from Apo Mechanic Village, declared war on prostitutes plying their trade in the area.
The vehicle repairers and the sex hawkers have always coexisted. While the mechanics work during the day, sex workers take over the space at night. Whoever does know that Apo Mechanic Village is a threatre of sex trade, gun running, drug dealing and other forms of crime is either new in Abuja or totally uninformed. Even in the daytime, at some points, the brothels open for business, to the extent that as you go into the village to fix your car, you would see cheap looking sex workers who parade their wares in broad daylight, soliciting for patronage.
But the FCT administration lately decided to relocate the mechanics as most of them were spilling to the road, making driving through the axis hell in hold-ups.
So as the mechanics relocated, the fellow business people that have always used the same space with them joined in the movement. That became source of worry to the technicians and they said no. Their insistence to stop the sex hawkers from moving to the next location is what caused the trouble.
The FCT workers demolished the mechanic village to give way for the expansion of the road, and as a result, thousands of artisans including mechanics, spray painters, welders, air conditioner repairers, spare parts dealers, petty traders, food hawkers and others lost their business places.
They were to move to a new place, about a kilometre away and inwards.
The artisans that had been very busy securing portions of land that Saturday, were terribly shocked to notice that the prostitutes, equally affected by the demolition, had joined in erecting structures, like the multiple brothels they had at the old spot to start their business at the new site.
You can’t come here
Angered by the development, the mechanics took a drastic decision to stop them from building structures close to them, accusing them of being responsible for and attracting the anger of the government that demolished the old place they had used for many years.
The artisans, mainly male youths, armed themselves with all manner of battle tools like sticks, iron roads, hammers, cudgels, machetes, etc commenced immediate demolition of whatever the prostitutes had built.
As they executed the job, they chanted war songs, asking the street ladies called ashawo to leave the place or face trouble.
They kept shouting: “We don’t want ashawo anywhere close to this area. We want them to go far away from us. We no go gree o, we no go gree o, ashawo house, we no go gree.”
The angry mob, in defence of their stand and action said: “They are coming here to use their bad business and siphon our money. They would be smiling to the banks with our money, while we will be getting leaner, poorer and ill by the day. Some of us even abandon their wives and children because of these ashawo. We don’t want them again.”
A welder that identified himself as Iron, told Abuja Metro that the prostitutes have caused them more harm than good. He said they will always feel better and safer without them, and it is wiser to distance themselves from the women of easy virtue.
“Yes, we don’t have the right to stop them from operating here, but our resolution is that we don’t want them close to us again. It is true that their operations might not be solely responsible for government’s action against us, but they contributed to it.”
“I can tell you that it was some big men in Abuja that came to patronise them that later took interest in our old site. I am sure that if those big men had not come to patronise the prostitutes, they would not have seen the place. We would have continued to carry out our business.
“Now that government has sent up packing, instead of the prostitutes to go far away from us, they decided to stay close to us again. They must go because they will soon bring the big men to this place to take away this new space from us again.
“More importantly, the prostitutes are corrupting our apprentices. Can you believe that sometime apprentices abandon their oga (masters) work to spend an entire day or work hours with ashawo.
“The truth is that the prostitutes have ruined the lives of some of these young men and we can’t continue to watch them ruin more. We have had enough of them and we don’t want them close to us again,” he insisted.
Rubbish talk, say apprentices
Ironically, the apprentices, by their body language were not disposed to the eviction of the sex workers. They are angry at the war their masters wage against the prostitutes. Since they lack the money, time and courage to build relationships with other ladies, their bodies, it wouldn’t be out of place to make do with the prostitutes they pay to catch some sex fun when they feel like. To them, it won’t be a bad idea to allow the street girls remain in business around them. They claim that the company of the street ladies help them to ease tension and stress after a tedious work day.
According to one of them that spoke to Abuja Metro, but refusing to mention his name because he would not want his boss to hear his comment “It is not true that the prostitutes have ruined the lives of some of us. Don’t mind them, many of them even patronise prostitutes more than some of us, the apprentices. You know we need them around to reduce the stress involved in this mechanic work,” he quipped.
We must stay in business
Meanwhile, some of the few prostitutes who watched helplessly, the demolition of their new structures, managed to protest verbally that the mechanics should realise that they are equally in business, warning that they lacked the power to decide where they wanted to operate.
Unaware of the presence of a journalist, one of them said: “You people have to take it easy because you don’t have the right to decide where you want us to stay and do our business. The best option left for you is to stop patronising us or report us to the police.
“What is your problem, we are not even the ones that beg you to patronise us, you are the ones coming to us. You people must understand that we have the same right with you in occupying this place.
“It’s even more annoying to see people that are our regular customers also protesting that we won’t be here. Let me tell you, they will be the first to visit us. We did not react not because your actions are right but because we are women. We will see who wins the war at last,” the prostitutes shouted.
The women of easy virtue argued that targeting them was victimization because the people that demolished their structures saw young men smoking Indian hemp in the area and didn’t do anything to stop them.
“They saw these ones smoking weed but did not talk to them. Apart from the fact that some of them smoke hemp too, they know that the boys would fight them if they tried to stop them. But, the big question for them is which one is more harmful to health between India hemp and patronising us. If they must sanitise this new site, let it be total, so that we can see how boring life will be here,” they added.
Religious sentiment
But for the quick intervention of some of the elders among the angry mobs, the situation would have degenerated into a religious war, when a middle aged man, tried to stop the boys from demolishing a particular structure. He said the structure he was putting up was meant to be a place of worship for Muslims and should not be mistaken for a brothel.
Although the angry mob spared the structure, they however warned the man: “We are going to hold you people by your words that this structure is a Mosque but we will demolish and burn it if we find out that it is not a mosque as you claimed now.”
Source: The Sun