Some days ago, Lagos State Commissioner for the Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Prince Adesegun Oniru stated that those being called prostitutes at Kuramo Beach might be tourists. The Honourable Commissioner also volunteered to visit the place and clear it up if he gets any evidence of either a market or brothel sited there.
Street Journal’s findings however contradict the position of the Commissioner. Over the last few years, the beach has been rather notorious and tourists are gradually avoiding the place, only the strong willed now visit the place. Tell anyone on the Island you are going to Kuramo Beach and you will get yourself a second look. You might even get a warning about the notoriety of the beach.
Street Journal’s findings revealed that Kuramo has changed from being an ordinary beach to a place where drugs and sex are major business items. It was also found out that a category of people are attracted to the beach because they find the atmosphere conducive for weed smoking as welll as the use of other illicit drugs since they can do so unchallenged.
Street Journal’s reporter and his guide, who visited the beach, revealed that on a typical Friday night, life accelerates at full throttle on the beach. One barely needs to be told to pay a toll fee to enter the beach and as you do; you are greeted by fine-looking young girls who are not ashamed of what they do for a living. “Hi guys, lets go and f**k”, scantily dressed babes greeted the reporter. From their looks, it was evident to the reporter that some of the girls that put themselves up for display at the Kuramo Beach are not up to 18 years, though there are older ones.
The reporter soon found out that there were spaces available for any kind of “service” one desires. The crudeness of the beach can be noticed in the spaces available behind the bars where all that can be taken by the room is a small, flattened, worn 2 by 6 mattress. There are a number of partitioned rooms and it was gathered that some rooms have fans but they attract higher rates. Those places serve as alternatives to the chalets which are occupied by “short timers” most of the time. Street Journal found out that the girls pay the owners of the bars to enable them use the place. Those who do not want to use the shanty also have the choice of going to secluded areas on the beach, though that is less preferred as the whole environment is littered. Service can also be provided in customers’ cars, nobody cares what the other person does on the beach. Those who have the patience and the financial muscle wait to use the chalets but most people hardly resist the urge to gratify their feelings and as such, anywhere goes.
It is also easily noticeable that the sex market on Kuramo Beach is highly competitive. Beckon on one of the girls to come and you might get like three or four briskly walking towards you, asking that you check them out. When they dashed towards this reporter, the girls mistook his surprise for a difficulty in making a choice; a fair, slim young one said “I’ll treat you well.”
The prices for services rendered also vary. During the peak period which is between 8 pm and midnight, short time service might go for as much as N 3000 while for all night, customers sometimes have to part with as much as N 7,000. When market is dull however, short time might go for as low as N 1,000, even less sometimes, depending on the customer’s bargaining power.
Almost all times of the day, local delicacies are available. That is about the only aspect of tourism left on the beach. Dokunnu, Wanke and other stuff are available for sale. “Weed” (Indian hemp) and “powder” are also said to be available, though the latter is said to be available only to the “initiated”. It is more or less a restricted commodity. It was gathered that the main consumers are silver spoons who are hooked on either heroin or cocaine and cannot do without taking a pinch once in a while.
One of the girls who spoke to Street Journal’s reporter disclosed that they stay on the beach and they pay as much as N 1000 for their bed spaces per night. Their rooms also serve as “chalets” for sex
The sex hawkers at Kuramo Beach do not call themselves prostitutes; the name for their trade is “hustling”. They see themselves as “hustlers for men”. Incidentally, they come from all parts of the nation and even beyond. Street Journal gathered that the girls have various ethnic backgrounds; Yoruba, Edo, Efik, Urhobo and Igbo are all represented in the beach hustle. When Chichi told the reporter of her status as a student, she brought out a UNILAG ID card bearing her picture when she sensed the reporter did not believe her. She revealed that she uses the proceeds from her “hustling” to support herself in school. Chichi also disclosed that unlike the regular girls who are there almost everyday, she and a couple of others who are students are around only on weekends. It was gathered that hustlers on the beach make as much as N 10,000 per night. Some of the girls have been there for as much as fie years, making one wonder if there is no other business they can do.
Chichi disclosed that she became involved in the trade because there was no one to finance her education and she does not want to drop out. She also pointed out that she supports her siblings with part of what she makes, though no one in her family knows where the money comes from as she told them she works as a waitress in a hotel.
It was gathered that the men who receive toll fees for “maintenance” also collect a certain amount of money from all the hustlers on the beach every week. The money is for “protection”. None of the girls dares to owe them as defaulters are severely dealt with when caught. They are beaten to stupor. The system is well organised and the guys perform a number of functions; they serve as checks against infiltration, no new hustler can just come and mix with the girls. They are the ones that approve who comes to hustle on the beach and that is usually after the payment of a fee. It may surprise you to hear that they know all the girls by name. They also act as pimps sometimes as they help the girls get customers once in a while especially where the potential customer doesn’t know his ways around. They also secure the girls by ensuring that they are not duped by smart customers. Anyone who tries to play pranks incurs their wrath.
The reporter also observed that the Honourable Commissioner’s inference might have been drawn from a visit to the place during the daytime. The reporter’s guide disclosed that “the Commissioner will not believe his eyes if he enters the beach in a disguise. Let him come in the evening, anytime from 7.30”, the guide said.