In Owerri, the capital of Imo State, it seems that prostitution has become serous business and those who are into the trade leave nothing to chance. They do everything possible to make a catch every night. Even when it is raining, commercial sex workers in Owerri go to their duty posts with umbrellas. They even pray for customers to come their way.
In Owerri, every evening, the scarlet ladies converge on the streets, and like vultures they wait for men who need their service. They are mostly found at New Owerri and World Bank area, where there is a strip club.
Owerri, a city to love and hate for various reasons, is just about to start overflowing with commercial sex workers. Sometimes, the number of girls standing at specific spots gives the impression that a religious crusade or revival is going on. Investigations revealed that most of the commercial sex workers are students of tertiary institutions from across the city, including Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo State University (IMSU), Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, and the Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo. There are also vocational institutions.
Daily Sun’s nvestigations showed that the sex trade in Owerri is virtually syndicated. All one needs is the telephone number of a girl and, at short notice, she could fill an arena with her “colleagues.” They call it networking.
It was also learnt that a good number of the call girls come from other states such as Rivers, Delta, Anambra, Enugu, Abia and Edo. A source said: “I think the girls prefer to come to Owerri because it is relatively safe, in terms of security, and there are many patrons. People like to come to Owerri to unwind. It is unlike many of states where you dare not step out at night. In Owerri, you can stay out until the wee hours without entertaining any fears.”
For many of the girls, sex is a way of life, a daily routine. Not too long ago, Beatrice, an Owerri-based student, who could be described as queen of sex, confessed that she slept with hundreds of men in one year. Her words: “My boyfriend, whom I met at Onitsha, Anambra State when I went to visit an uncle, was sponsoring my education. We had agreed to get married as soon as possible. Then some people I regarded as friends started peddling wicked lies against me and without confirming if what they were saying was true or false, he called it quits, just like that. They told him I had an incurable disease. So, I decided to help myself because my parents cannot do anything for me. We are poor. That is why I am trying to help myself.”
Some of the prostitutes claimed that they resorted to “using what they have to get what they need” because of the general downturn of the nation’s economy. “Everybody knows that there is hunger in the land. So, you just manage anyhow to survive. If you can see a guy who can buy food and drinks and take you home, you won’t reject the offer,” explained Nneka, a call girl.
Another sex worker, Margaret, claimed that she resorted to the flesh business when she lost her parents. She said: “I am an orphan and the only child of my parents. When my parents died in a road accident, I had no one to continue sponsoring my education. In fact, I almost abandoned my education because there was no one for me. Somehow, I picked up the pieces and started going out with the girls in my hostel. For me, it is not an everyday thing. Many others girls are into it, so it is not a big deal.”
But it is not only students who are into prostitution in Owerri. Other classes of ladies are also into the act, although almost all of them claim to be students. Some of them appear to be underage, while some others are not so young and well past the prime of youth.
An all-night dalliance could cost N3,000 or less, depending on the time and the bargaining power of the man or the desperation of the girl. For N1,000, a guy could have quickie in the car or by roadside.
There is, however, the suspicion that some of the commercial sex workers are on drugs. Confirming this, Emma Okonkwo, a bouncer at a popular night club, told the reporter: “Many of the girls you see hustling do so with the aid of Dutch courage. After getting high on drugs, especially Indian hemp, they are no longer ashamed to go out to look for men to sleep with them for money. Even some of the girls smoke at their hostels.”
Indeed, some of the girls are often seen smoking cigarettes and marijuana in dark corners around nightclubs and elsewhere.
Interestingly, Owerri has a thriving nightlife that is not only about commercial sex. Because of the ambience, facilities in Owerri are often used for retreat by organisations and high networth individuals across the country.
There are many joints where one can be entertained, with hot delicacies, dancing competitions, comedy, jokes and general entertainment. In Owerri, they even have point-and-kill goats! If you select a goat at some joints, it would be prepared for you and a sumptuous meal set before you in minutes.