Temitope Shittu-Alamu: When the street lights come on

… apparently, customers are called clients and the bedrooms are boardrooms.

Today is no exception on my street. There is a long lane of scantily dressed ladies and several rows of vehicles ranging from “posh and fresh from the mint” to “that thing can move?” Government cars, private cars, company cars and utility pickup vans, all lined up for the same purpose. It’s amazing – the unifying factor for the drivers of these vehicles. Could they all be buying recharge cards?

My street is the longest in the city. It is beautifully lit. The land is green and today the breeze is blowing the trees gently from side to side. The sky has faded to grey and traffic is easing out. Newspaper guys have long gone, and somewhere in the near distance, smoke wafts into the skies from the mai suya‘s stand. The street lights have just come on.

I walk towards the long lane of ladies – many my age; many more younger, putting finishing touches to their makeup. Of course, they are neither buying nor selling recharge cards. They are prostitutes, or “runs girls” if you would use their language. There is a lady in the corner taking off her dark blazer and tossing it in a carrier bag. She’s probably a receptionist by day. She combs her hair and applies red hot lipstick. She then strikes a pose that I have since unsuccessfully tried to imitate for its sheer attitude. Most of the ladies are chewing gum and managing to look both angry and sultry at the same time. I wonder what’s going through their minds and why they have chosen this very “uneasy” profession as they constantly comport themselves each time a car drives past.

In Nigeria, as well as most developing countries, the most popular excuse for getting into this much stigmatized profession is POVERTY. I ask myself how much money these ladies are looking to earn before they realise the perils of the job. I am very much intrigued by the lady in the blazer. I can’t stop thinking where she was coming from – Bank? Secretariat? School?!!! Is this a continuation of business? As apparently, customers are called clients and the bedrooms are boardrooms.

I fear for these ladies deeply. Apart from being exposed to STDs, I fear what their minds are suffering… Is this driven by low self-esteem, to relegate ones’ future and destiny to a side walk on a cold night thinking that’s pretty much all they have to offer? And to think that some transform to entirely different ladies in the morning when the street lights go off. Schizophrenia of some sort? For some it might be the only life they’d ever know, as the rest of humanity goes about their business with nothing but condescension when paths cross…

I see a federal government truck afar off, I turn to gaze at the lane of ladies one more time and there is not a single girl in sight. Where did they just disappear to? Apparently they know the truck when they see it. Policemen have come to whip them off the street.

The questions remain though, what continues to drive this phenomenon? What should society do about it?


Temitope Shittu-Alamu, is a writer, an eclectic public speaker and master of ceremonies with a degree in History and International Relations. Passionate about the media and of a strong believe that “it is my platform to building the Nigeria of my dreams”. I host a yearly Christmas show on television.

I love God, I love people.

Did I mention that I love Garri. Wow it keeps me going. BLOG;


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Comments (7)

  1. If poverty is the reason (or excuse) given for prostitution in Nigeria and other developing countries, what reason will then be given by prostitutes in the developed countries? All over the world, beyond poverty, mental laziness (in this case meaning the refusal to engage the mind for productive and dignifying labour) and moral rotteness (on part of both demand and supply) are more real and underlying reasons for prostitution.

  2. Pingback: WHEN THE STREET LIGHTS COME ON « Eclectictope's Blog

  3. Let me make an attempt to delve into a prostitute's mind and make some participant's observation. Prostitution is a work, a guarantee for the next meal ticket and risky fun plus a chance to have a no-strings attached sex. And who knows,you might just meet a wealthy politician(all 'active' politicians are moneybags anyway)who will be satisfied with services rendered and have them on his paroll as a permanent mistress.

    Tope,you have not addressed though, the 'clients' of these 'workers'. The law of Economics teaches demand and supply. There is a steady demand for them by the 'not so dirty men'. Among their clients are senators,governors,business moguls and men who have reached the apex of their carriers. Some vip clubhouses offer these girls to these moneybags, they stripe-tease and do all sorts to match the sexual fantasies of these men. Some have as much as four of them in their beds and bathtubs at a time. They use them to unwind. They could be equal to another bottle of champagne for crying out loud. So basically, the supply is only guaranteed by a steady demand and as for low esteem,money talk and bulls**t happens and do not underestimate the power of booze and pills…

  4. I didn't even knw d police arrest 'these' girls on d streets.funny enof,nt all of dem need 2 be prostitutes.some hv got loads of oda opportunities.just check out d one wit d blazer,who knws,mayb she's got some oda job *shrugs*…I pray d society wakes up and render hlp 2 dose who need it.

    Luvly piece *thumbs up* babe

  5. lovely piece…i like that you want to use the media as a platform to build the Nigeria of your dreams, always great to have a strategy…Stay at it!!!

    …Go Girl!!!

  6. Their reasons, they may call POVERTY…

    But, it's clearly beyond that…

    Amazing Piece

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail