Sex sells for N100 (70 Cents), at Bodija, Ibadan
Located conspicuously at the heart of Ibadan, capital city of Oyo State, Bodija market is a sight to behold - crowded and noisy. It is the delight of every wife, cooks and others who need to shop to save some money. Here, foodstuffs come cheapest in the city, and in Nigeria as some argue. Hence foodstuffs buyers happily troop there to bring back bulk food items ranging from rice garri, elubo, fish, meat, tuwo, lafun, vegetable and many others.
In Bodija, while the food buyers have their good bargain, there are other attractions at the market. Services also abide in the domain of immorality.
Bodija market wakes up as early as the cock crows, and never goes to sleep. This is not because trading lasts that long but a different transaction, heinous in nature, replaces buying and selling.
Prostitution, pornographic film shows and petty robbery take over in Bodija when buyers and sellers of food items quit.
Saturday Sun spent days observing what happens between 6pm and midnight and the discovery is simply incredible.
From the Total Filling Station at the other side of the road into the market, following the railway line that runs down into the market, sex workers in different shapes, sizes and colours would call on male passers-by, asking and even begging for patronage. “Come it is sweet, come fine man, I will do you well, na just N100. E no cost, come , make we do am sharp sharp!”. Some of them would chorus, swinging their hips to entice buyers.
Their ramshackle shelters stand facing the rail line. Some are built within the market. In most of the shelters, humble Hausa families also live as neigbhours to the sex workers. Amid the sex workers' shelters is a mosque made of wood. As the sex worker or her patron ply the trade, they are harangued by the blaring of the public address system announcing prayers from this holy place.
Another walk through the area offers you greater embarrassment. They hoot, call and even drag you: “Come now, na me call you first, you no no me again? Come, I go do you well, come and enjoy yourself.” If you are casually dressed, they call you student, otherwise, they call you oga or fine man.”
To know more on how the sex workers carry out their business, Saturday Sun spoke to a few of them under the pretence of patronage.
Cynthia, who hails from Delta State said for short time meaning a round of sex with her, she would accept as low as N100. “But if you want enjoy yourself well, well, touch br***t, smoosh body, you go make am N500.” We haggled and she brought it down to N300. Spending a night with Cynthia will take nothing less than N800. “That mean say, you go enjoy till day break”, she said patronizingly, blinking her amorous eyes.
The other sex worker refused to give her name. She just revealed that she is from the North. She wanted business not friendship. “Na work I dey do, I no get time for friends now. I beg follow me talk business”, she snapped. The anonymous sex worker also accepted N100 for a quick one but advised that it would not be as interesting and enjoyable as a longer session that costs N500. “Na that one you go enjoy pass, I no say you fit pay am” said the unidentified sex worker. She got a bottle of beer as parting gift with a promise to see her later.
Take a long walk down to the side of the market near the butchers' place. Here stands a wooden long hall. The interior smells heavily of alcohol, cigarette and marijuana. But for some bitter kola one chewed, the mixture of the strong stench would cause one to throw up. In front of this wooden hall are small pornographic posters mounted on flat wooden boards. The fee to watch a pornographic film that could last an hour is N30. Most of the people who patronize the cinema hall are traders, touts, and motorists in Bodija market and the neigbhourhood. Pornographic films are shown from 8pm till mid-night.
Most of the porn watchers, from Saturday Sun checks, first go there to get excited and whet their appetite for a session with the sex worker near-by.
“One hour for the cinema go wake you up so you go quick go do am with Ashawo,” Ibrahim, a mallam and regular patron of the cinema confessed.
A man who said he is an Ibadan indigene explained that: “Most of us come here to unwind. Some of us who have two wives do come here to discharge when our wives are fighting and the home becomes too hot. Or if your girl friend refused to give you the thing and e de worry you, na here you release yourself.”
Don't the police attack them sometimes? Musa, another regular, speaking in pidgin English said “ The police dey come but the film man (cinema attendant) know them well, and him know how to settle them.”
Taju, another trader in Bodija, has actually patronized the sex workers on several occasions. He spoke to Saturday Sun about his encounter: “I once had a session with a young girl who said she is from Edo. I like her so much I promised to marry her.
After sometime she was no longer collecting money from me whenever I wanted to do it. The only thing was that she complained that the way I do it is painful. Meanwhile, I usually enjoy it that way because I take some dose of magani burantashi (traditional libido enhancer) which improves my performance. One night, Stella drove me out of her room shouting and cursing me for failing to marry her as promised. That was about three months into our relationship. Since then, I no longer go near her. I have shifted base. We still see each other but even when I try to avoid her she rained curses at me.”