Akudo earns a salary of less than N85,000 in a month at a struggling company in Lagos. The sole proprietor of the medium-scale enterprise had considered closing down the firm times without number due to its slow pace of growth. For years, he has refused to increase the salary of the busty young lady with light skin and alluring curves which she never fails to show off in tight clothes. She also has no chance of being promoted in any way. The 24-year-old doesn’t care about her career. Her job as a front desk officer is just a front for another ‘business’ which brings the cash. She runs a company within her company and that firm is between her legs. Most of her ‘customers’ are married men and young internet fraudsters popularly called ‘Yahoo Boys’.
She has an active account on Instagram and this is like her own link to the world. It’s difficult to understand what she is up to. You need to look closely. Akudo uploads pictures like every normal girl. She makes sure a large chunk of her cleavage is showing, her hips are also exposed out of her short dresses and she poses in a way that her backside is also captured. The pictures are laced with motivational quotes, bible verses and appreciation of God. These are regular innocent pictures we see every day on social media but there is more to them. They are posted as baits with intentions. The ‘goods and services’ are not conspicuously displayed in the black market but the buyers understand the signals. Once they see them, they make a move and a moneyed deal is sealed like a capital project. Not all ladies are as discreet as Akudo. Others post provocative pictures, twerk in videos, flaunt tattoos, touch on x-rated topics just to tell the outside world they are strictly open for business.
Back to Akudo, she simply goes to popular social media pages on Instagram to make harmless comments. Some might be lengthy, others might be so brief. These comments are for the visibility of her page. Interested buyers who are mostly male folks scroll through the comment section of popular social media pages not just to gauge the opinions of people about issues and incidents, but to look out for people like Akudo. After checking her profile and being satisfied with her pictures, he respectfully sends a message. Akudo initially acts decent but shows her true colours as time goes on. It might be a one-off deal in which they meet at a hotel and the man pays a sizeable amount of money and sex is transacted or a contract in which he becomes the ‘friend’ Akudo. He constantly helps her out with common material needs while they regularly meet for sex when the need arises. Akudo in turn calls the man her ‘best friend, mentor, uncle, zaddy or ex’. When you hear these terms, you need to look deeper.
The business has been fine for Akudo. She never touches her monthly salaries. She drives a 2010 model of Lexus ES 350 saloon car which arrived during the coronavirus pandemic when millions of Nigerians lost their jobs and others took pay-cuts. She attributes her ‘success’ to God all the time.
Akudo is not alone. Life is tough in Nigeria and maybe tougher in Lagos. It is easy to become homeless because the well-paying jobs are scarce and the house rents keep going up like it wants to explore the heavens. Since Nigerians never share their pains but gains, so that they wouldn’t be mocked or regarded as unfortunate in life, the young ladies secretly start to use what they have to get what they want.
How do you explain a situation whereby a lady who earns just N50,000 per month, lives on the mainland and works on the Island, and then easily affords the latest iPhone with other ostentatious belongings. She goes on social media every weekend to share photos of her visitations to swanky restaurants, eating exotic meals and cooling off at 5-Star hotels. These ‘online marketers’ are always in a hurry to show the world they are ‘balling’. It’s like they need to convince an imaginary competitor out there.
For ladies who want a bigger chunk of the monies that circulate in the untaxed sex industry in Lagos, they crave for more visibility. They join the entertainment industry where they go into modelling, presentations, reality shows and mostly acting. The big boys stalk the entertainment industry, which is like the ‘more you look, the less you see’. In the entertainment industry, you need to look successful to gather momentum. Since you can’t engage in internet scam like the male players, you will crawl to the politicians, business tycoons, drug barons and others making easy money, to shore up your bank accounts, so that you can look successful and advance your career.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus globally, the local film industry has taken a hit. It has almost closed down. But this setback hasn’t stopped the glory of actresses who have no known businesses or reasonable endorsement deals. They have been flaunting new SUVs on social media as well as newly-acquired houses. The story is the opposite for the men who most times survive on the benevolence of well-meaning Nigerians. Who have the male actors offended? Are they not serving a ‘living God’?
Most of the most talented and hard-working male actors only grab the headlines when they engage in crowdfunding to offset medical bills.
With the advancement in information technology and widespread usage of smartphones, social networks have been springing up aside from the major ones like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Most young ladies discreetly join them to open business profiles where they transact sex at affordable rates. Most of them are just normal people that can never be suspected to be indulging in such. All you need to simply do is chat them up, agree on a fee, she takes your address and comes down easily using one of the ride-hailing companies. Investigations show sex services are charged according to durations and add-ons. You either go for ‘short time’ which is a round or two within two hours or so. Those with enough cash opt for ‘long rest’ which is fixed over the night with about three rounds or more guaranteed, according to the gas in your tank.
The story of this industry can’t be told in one article. It is far bigger than imagined. The players are invisible. It is condemned by both participants. Nobody likes to admit it exists but they will always run there for help when the body calls for it. It’s like a hospital with numerous patients in emergency wards. It’s a multi-billion naira industry without exaggerations. It has changed lives. Many have bought cars, careers, houses, established businesses through this industry. It is called the oldest profession in the world. It is not new, just that the trends are changing. Every young lady seems to be eyeing the sector with a plan to join and support herself. Greed, peer pressure and economic hardship drive the informal industry.
How much is Nigeria’s debt again? N31 trillion I guess. If President Muhammadu Buhari decides to track the transactions in the industry with the sole aim to collect taxes, he will repay Nigeria’s debts under a period of 16 months, and I mean it.