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7 Oct 2017

The world of Lagos’ ‘super pimps’ behind rich Nigerian sex workers

He sits calmly but arrogantly at the VIP section of a popular highbrow night club on Victoria Island, Lagos. On his table are so many full and empty bottles of exotic wines. He is flanked by three males – his drinking buddies. They laugh out loud. They gist, they share jokes. He presses his phone every now and then. He looks relaxed though as he puffs his cigar, takes a drag, exhales and laughs at whatever joke his guys crack.
Intermittently, sexy and good looking girls walk up to him. To some, he cuddles, gives a high five and somehow, smacks teasingly their backside. To others, with a not-so-smiling face, he berates, admonishes and waves off. The admonished babe walks out…soberly at first but with an attitude, an I-don’t-give-a-hoot stance. Of course, it is obvious her supposed carriage is for the benefit of all the other customers who may have overheard the reprimand.

However, he goes back to his drink and his cigar. He signals to the waiter for another round of drinks for him and his buddies. He relaxes some more, checks the time.

He eventually signalled to our correspondent that he was ready to give her audience.

His name is Chike, but to everybody, he is ‘Boss’. He is a pimp.

Indeed, pimping has been in existence for a long time, however, in recent times, it has taken shape and has gradually snowballed into a thriving business in Nigeria.

Guys now see it as a profitable business being an intermediary between ‘commercial sex workers’ and those who require the services of the sex workers.

Now, pimping has turned the likes of Chike and so many others into ‘big’ boys, a venture that is more or less, hassle-free and doesn’t require any dint of hard work.

But like so many other pimps, Boss wouldn’t want to be called a pimp. He actually feels it is a derogatory word. He didn’t waste time telling our correspondent not to call him by that when she suggested she wanted him to be her pimp.

“I don’t know why you would call me a pimp. I am a businessman, this club is mine. The babes here work for me and I pay them. Tell whoever directed you that what I do here is business and not pimping,” he proudly stated.

After accepting our correspondent’s apologies, Boss had to lay down his rules and regulations for any girl who wants to be in his harem.

“You know you are no longer a young girl. The people I actually employ are those who are younger than you. It is just that you come highly recommended by one of my clients; that is why I would even consider you. In any case, some of my clients require your kind of ‘spec’, so you may come in handy then.

“And that is when the real discipline comes in. You must be ready to work. I don’t want story, I don’t want any ‘my child is sick’ excuse. If I call you and tell you somebody wants a lady that looks like you, you must leave whatever you are doing and go and service the man, no story. Every day, there will always be a girl that would want me to link her, so I can easily fire you if you don’t perform well.”

And like Boss said, ladies actually approach the pimps to include them in their ‘catalogue’. Well established pimps these days do not look for girls but rather, the girls come to them in order that they work for them.

Giving our correspondent unsolicited information, Boss proudly said, “As you just came here now, so many other girls come, so don’t feel embarrassed. My girls don’t complain; I treat them well. I give them to the best clients. The clients smile, the babes smile and I smile, everybody goes home happy.”

When our correspondent asked Boss how regular such services will be required of her, he revealed the market is lucrative and he doesn’t look for clients.

“If I could fix you up every day, can you handle it? Guys come here daily. I get calls from men everywhere looking for ladies to service them. I only use my discretion to choose the girls I send to the clients. If I get feedback that you are good, then I could include you to be a part of my ‘special’ babes. The ball is actually in your court and in mine though,” he said.

And when it was time to discuss the issue of money and the sharing formula, Boss got more serious, invariably telling our correspondent he doesn’t joke with such.

“The client pays N70, 000 for the night. It is 50-50. I take half of it and you take half. You are to bring every tip to me. Even if the client likes you, loves your performance and tips you at the end of the day, I want the money! I will decide what I will give you. This is my territory and I call the shots. It is either you take this or you leave it! I no kuku beg you, after all, there are so many other younger girls looking for this opportunity. If the deal is not okay with you, then go and stand on the road like a cheap prostitute,” he said.

Actually, pimps would rather not categorise their girls as prostitutes or hoes as most of them would readily explain the difference.

“There is a big difference between you and a prostitute. You are ‘my girls’. You will not be standing on the road. You will not be paid stupid paltry peanuts. You will hobnob with the rich. This is classy as well as coded. Nobody will know what you are into. Your self-esteem will not be thwarted or trampled on. If what I have offered you is not good, then go and stand on the road. I tell you again; this is my kingdom, my business and I don’t joke with it,” he arrogantly said.

To so many guys who are into pimping in Lagos, it is all about business and nothing more.

Joshua, (not real names) is a pimp who operates in an upscale hotel in Lagos. To him, there is really no big deal in what he does. He readily opened up to our correspondent who pretended as if she needed his services to get girls for her business partners coming from Europe.

Over rounds of drinks and fish pepper soup, Joshua excitedly disclosed all about his line of job, after he felt he was getting big business from our correspondent.

“This is business; we arrange girls and control them so as to be able to make money. There is no job anywhere and man must survive. I act as a middle man. I get girls for men that need them and I get paid for it. Basically, the job is all about getting beautiful girls with nice physique. I give them men that will take care of them and they will get rewarded for taking care of the men too.

“Ah! Madam, this business is sweet o. We can make cool more just to arrange babes. So madam, as long as you can pay, I will give you as many girls as you want; just tell me the kind of girls you want and I will give you. I only deal with clean babes, nothing more,” he boasted.

Talking about where he gets his girls from, Joshua said that is the simplest part of the job.

“Getting the girls is not really a problem. We recruit girls from the streets and from schools as well. We recruit girls that are destitute. We don’t mind their ages so far as they are good looking, all we need to do is to brush them up a little.”

And regarding the issue of age, Joshua said it has never been a problem as well since there are men who ask for very young girls.

“Age has never been a problem before now but security agents are heavily against recruitment of minors. There are clients who specifically ask for girls who are about 15 or 16 years.  We look for such hungry girls who wouldn’t mind to use what they have to get what they want since the economy is harsh and unpleasant.”

Joshua revealed that he runs an online platform where girls readily indicate interest to be a part of his cartel and he willingly recruits them.

“We do publicity online. We search for these girls and once they see our post, they join. I have several ladies who readily send in their pictures and profiles. I didn’t force anybody to join me. I didn’t put a gun on anybody’s head and force the person to go and meet a client. It is a choice thing biko,” he said.

Regarding how much he collects from his girls, Joshua said, “There is a particular amount you have to remit every night once you are out on a job, though the prices of girls are different. The fair skinned girls are more expensive than the dark girls; they are more marketable than the dark girls. The fair complexioned girls collect as high as N40, 000 while the dark girls will get N30, 000. The location matters too. The price I gave you is for mainland girls. But for Island girls, my girls will collect not less than N70, 000 a night.”

For Magnus Dikeocha who studied Micro Biology at a federal university in the South-South region of the country, becoming a pimp came easily to him more so since he had been doing such related business in Port Harcourt many years ago before he moved to Lagos.

“I was doing such for oil boys in Port Harcourt. I would get girls for them and they would easily pay me good money. That was how I was able to survive my years in school. And as I graduated, there was no job. I have been exposed to this business for a long time. I only took advantage of my environment. I kept so many of my contacts and besides, satisfied clients would always recommend me to other prospective clients and before I knew it, business started booming. It is business and it pays my bills therefore, I must grow and expand it, man must wack,” he said.

Regarding the kind of girls he gives his clients, Dikeocha said everything depends on the client’s specification.

“We follow the ‘spec’ they want. That is why we have girls in different sizes, colours, ages and height. When a client requires a particular spec, he has to pay more to get what he wants. Some ask for two girls for threesome. Some also ask for three girls. It doesn’t really matter,” he said.

 His standpoint is not different from that of Sylvester Williams who also operates as a pimp on the Victoria Island area of Lagos.

Describing his job as “interesting”, Sly, as he is commonly known, said in the seven years he has been in business, he has serviced several notable clients while plucking ‘good’ cash in the process.

“Madam, I cannot reveal or mention the names of my clients to you. But I can authoritatively tell you that the high and mighty men come to us here for business. We link them with who they want. I had been in this kind of business even before I gained admission into the university. An elder ‘bros’ I grew up with brought me into the game. He had been into it for several years.

“However, it was while I was at the university that I got better links and got to know the leading ladies.  When I started, I was organising babes for normal ‘parole’ for not more than N15, 000 and getting like N3000 or N4000 on each girl. Now, better links opened up and we moved up a bit.

 “In the last three years since I moved to the Island and met solid guys, I make nothing less than N20, 000 on each chic I supply. I have enhanced my standard of living a great deal.”

Sly said some girls try to evade bringing their returns and would rather want to pay in kind by offering him sex.

“The girls pay in both ways o. But really, cash payment must be collected. Even if I don’t take all, I must take part of the money. How many of them would I want to sleep with?”

But like every other business, pimping has its own hazards. However, Sly said such hazards have not deterred him or his ilk.

“The only risk is actually when a client requires a minor. It is risky. Not because they are not readily available, there are so many teenagers and they have ‘opened’ eyes very well. But security agents are on a lookout for such and if somebody exposes you, then you are in real trouble,” he said.

To Sly, the fear of losing girls to ritual killers does not even arise as they know the details of most of their clients.

“Most commercial sex workers are not even afraid of ritualists; so how can our girls who we shield and protect be afraid of ritual killers? It doesn’t even arise at all.”

Sly explained that men prefer patronising them rather than roadside commercial sex workers because they feel their girls are cleaner.

“For us here, sex is not so cheap. A roadside prostitute will charge not more than N5, 000. But how can you give any of our girls N5, 000? It is not done! Our clients are people who have class and who have a name to protect. They can’t be caught with a commercial sex worker, no way! Our girls don’t operate in sleazy brothels but rather, our babes meet them at top notch hotels,” he said.

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