People usually sympathise with occupants of trucks held up in terrible traffics for weeks on Lagos highways and flyovers leading to the seaports. But TOLA ADENUBI reveals the “softer” side of the ordeal of the truckers and their assistants which plays out under the flyovers and truck rear.
From Wharf Road all the way to the top of the Marine Bridge across Ijora, a thriving slum in Lagos State, down to the Eko Bridge and deep into Funso Williams Avenue, many trucks wishing to get into the seaports, either to drop an empty container or pick a loaded one, daily line up in an endless queue caused by the dilapidated state of the access roads.
For many of these truckers, who are mostly two to a long articulated vehicle, life on the highways and on top of the bridge can be very cold in the night. Many spend weeks, even months, inside their vehicles, in a bid get to the ports.
Investigation, however, revealed that most of the truckers now enjoy their stay on top of the bridges and highways at nights with prostitutes who come to them anytime from 10.00 p.m. to help them weather the harsh cold of the midnight.
For these truckers, life begins at 10.00 p.m. when Lagos is gradually drifting into sleeping mode. Explaining to Saturday Tribune, how the whole drama unfolds, a trucker (name withheld) said before now, many motor boys usually drank themselves to stupor with alcohol just to survive the inhospitable night weather. That, however, changed when some fun-seeking truckers visited some of the brothels that dot the railway line in the Ijora and Iddo areas, and were able to convince the ‘girls’ to spend nights with them inside their trucks.
“Some of our boys used to spend the night drinking alcoholic drinks. We even encouraged them by buying drinks for them because it is not easy sleeping inside the articulated vehicles all through the night. But when some of them visited brothels at railway crossing in Iddo and Ijora, some of the ‘girls’ came back with them and even spent the night with them inside the trucks. That was how prostitutes who hang in front of the Ijora and Iddo railway brothels started coming around very late in the night to spend time with some of the motor boys at an agreed fee.
“For truckers held up in long queues along the Ijora-Olopa flyover, they get cheap supply of prostitutes from the many brothels along the Iddo railway crossing, while truckers held up on top the Ijora Badia Bridge easily get cheap supply of ‘girls’ from Gaskia Road in Ijora,” the trucker explained.
When Saturday Tribune visited some of the brothels along Iddo and Ijora railway, many ladies in their early 20’s and mid 30’s were seen sitting and discussing in groups in front of the brothels. About 10 brothels were counted in the Iddo railway area alone, just as a considerable number of the houses (of prostitution) scattered across the different streets like Gaskia, Matiminu and Fadaini, all in Ijora slum of Apapa/Iganmu Local Council Development Area.
Inside the sex trade
For many of the prostitutes, life begins around 5.00 p.m. every day when they come out in seductive dresses and await customers.
Once it is past 10.00 p.m., many of the brothels start closing for the day, just as the girls, too, no longer sleep in their rooms at this period of the day. Disclosing this to Saturday Tribune, a resident in one of the buildings along the Iddo railway line, who declined to have his name mentioned, explained that most of the girls were always leaving for somewhere else once the night sets in.
“My house is close to the railway crossing here and we normally hang out with the girls late into the night, drinking. However, recent happenings have shown that they (the prostitutes) no longer sleep in their rooms once there is no customer for the day. Maybe they go to clubs to catch fun or something, but most of them who don’t have customers go out late in the night and come back very early in the morning,” our source stated.
When asked if the girls could be going on top of the Ijora Olopa bridges to meet with truckers stranded in the long queue leading to the ports, he stated that he was unaware of that but was quick to add that he could not rule out the possibility of that.
“I cannot rule that out, even though I am not aware of it because the girls come back in the morning and tell us they are just coming back from clubs. I once dated one of the girls, and she has never told me about meeting motor boys inside articulated trucks on top of the Ijora bridges. “She always told me that she was just coming from the club. I am sure, but if the truckers will pay, these girls will go the extra mile. Most of them will do anything for money, so I cannot rule that out. I have heard this for the first time. But I know a few of them who don’t have customers for the night no longer sleep in their rooms. They simply hit the roads – some go to clubs and others to only-God-knows-where,” the man stated.
Some of the motor boys inside articulated vehicles along the Ijora bridge declined to speak to Saturday Tribune when approached on the matter. However, one of them challenged the reporter to come and spend a night on the bridge to experience the cold that usually pervades the environment in the dead of the night before sniffing around about what they do at night.