Pulse visited Abuja night clubs and red light districts after Police raid, here’s what we found

Pulse visited Abuja night clubs and red light districts after Police raid, here’s what we found

<p class="">Recently, policemen and AEPB officials raided nightclubs in Abuja. It’s been business unusual since then.</p>

<p class=""><strong><em>“Madam, you are at Caramelo,” </em>the cab driver muttered as he pulled up at a gate next to the nightclub and killed the car engine. For a moment, this reporter could not make sense of the scene before her.</strong></p>

<p class="">A broken fence and gatehouse, a tarpaulin cover, a deserted street corner as opposed to the ever busy nature of the area, especially on Fridays, and overly courteous security personnel.</p>

<p class="">Inside, there were no scantily clad strippers teasing potential clients from poles. There were no lap dances on offer either. The door to the strip club was shuttered to customers and Caramelo had been deserted. </p>

<p class=""><em>“Welcome, Ma. You’re welcome” </em>repeated one of the polite bouncers with a stutter. He was muscular and scary all at once. He would ignore the regular security checks. <em>"Please, the strip club is not opened yet. But, you can relax here," </em>he added, pointing to the area where the live band conducts their performance daily.</p>

<p class="">The area was shorn of life. No music. No dance. There were only a few grim faced, visibly scared customers at the spot which would have been filled to the brim at that time — 11:30 p.m to be precise. </p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/NzY7MDA_/5b5c3dc43d0acb20f36e8c0d44a966cb.jpg" alt="Pulse visited Abuja night clubs and red light districts after Police raid, here’s what we found"> <figcaption>Pulse visited Abuja night clubs and red light districts after Police raid, here’s what we found</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Caramelo, one of Abuja’s upscale, ritzy and popular nightclubs, had been reduced to a ghost, lifeless spot. The air used to be thick with cigarette and Shisha smoke around this time. The air was unusually clean tonight. </p>

<p class="">It was not always this way. </p>

<h3>The Police raid</h3>

<p class="">Men of the <strong>Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) </strong><a href="https://www.pulse.ng/news/local/strip-dancers-of-abuja-didnt-hurt-anyone-leave-them-alone/sbx58e6" id="c84591a4-49bb-4a28-b331-ede977d11066">raided Caramel</a>o on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.</p>

<p class="">Some strippers were arrested during the brawl between policemen and security personnel of the club. Weeks later, Caramelo, located at plot 630 Cadastral Zone, Utako, is still unrecognisable. </p>

<p class="">As the waiter arrived my table with the drink I ordered, I sought to know what had happened to the ever buzzing Caramelo.</p>

<p class=""><em>"We were here as usual when some people came," </em>the waiter said on condition of anonymity.</p>

<p class=""><em>"They said they were Environmental Board. They came with lots of policemen. Everybody started running. We lost a lot of money that day because customers ran away without paying for food and drinks.</em></p>

<p class=""><em>"As they approached the club, the bouncers engaged them in a scuffle. Some were even injured. They tore down the door, darted in and arrested some girls, workers and customers who had no identity cards. Most of them were girls," </em>the waiter stated.</p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/NDg7MDA_/71f4319c724d1153e446666b2130ac35.jpg" alt="Pulse visited Abuja night clubs and red light districts after Police raid, here’s what we found"> <figcaption>Pulse visited Abuja night clubs and red light districts after Police raid, here’s what we found</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Coordinator of the <strong>Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Umar Shuaibu,</strong> had alleged that the facility occupied by the club was originally designed as a health clinic.</p>

<p class="">Umar also accused Caramelo of noise pollution, no thanks to loud party music, nude/strip dancing club activities, intractable traffic challenge resulting from uncontrolled patronage of the nightclub within the residential precinct.</p>

<p class="">But, the waiter assured <strong><em>Pulse</em></strong> that the club would be back on its feet in a few weeks. He believes the raid was a gang-up of some sort against his organisation. He considered the raid the handiwork of competition. </p>

<p class=""><em>"You see, there are so many clubs in Abuja, but most of them are usually empty all day of the week and during weekends. This thing happened to make people stop coming here. But, we’re working and in a few weeks, we’ll be back and better”, </em>the waiter said. </p>

<p class="">Some of the girls arrested, <strong><em>Pulse</em></strong> understands, were charged for prostitution. Some of the girls were allegedly raped by policemen while others were asked to pay fines "in cash" before their release.</p>

<p class="">Some of the girls say the police officers who raped them improvised sachet water bags as condoms. The police authorities say they are <a href="https://www.pulse.ng/news/local/police-to-penalise-officers-who-raided-abuja-night-club/9s9jb4j" id="c52e2275-20f8-4ec5-92ae-817f59cb6700">investigating the grievous allegations</a>. </p>

<h3>Prostitution in Abuja</h3>

<p class="">A drive through some red light districts in the city center on the same night, proved that the raid had not affected the thriving trade of sex for cash in Nigeria’s capital city. </p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/MDU7MDA_/f3e7568e05227513f2f91a0ac8dbb28a.jpg" alt="Some girls on the streets of Abuja."> <figcaption>Some girls on the streets of Abuja.</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">It was observed that there were more skimpily clad young ladies on the streets of Abuja, even after the raids. </p>

<p class=""><strong><em>Pulse</em></strong> also visited other night clubs after Caramelo, and the fear of an imminent police raid hung over tipsy heads like a sword of damocles. Business was slow wherever we turned and it was clear that the raids had affected the city’s night economy. At least for the moment.</p>

<p class="">At Caramelo, the manager who also pleaded that his name be left out of this story, expressed concern that the raid has negatively affected the patronage the place usually enjoys.</p>

<h3>Investigations galore</h3>

<p class="">The Police says it is investigating the involvement of its men in the arrest and alleged rape of some of the ladies.</p>

<p class="">Similarly, <strong>Laolu Akande</strong>, Vice President <strong>Yemi Osinbajo</strong>’s spokesperson, says the matter would be investigated.</p>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption></figcaption> </figure>

<p class=""><em>"Regarding some of our women who were reportedly harassed and wrongly arrested in Abuja recently, a thorough investigation of what happened is ongoing. This administration will not tolerate any violation of the individual freedoms of our people and all infringements shall be punished," </em>he tweeted on Sunday, May 5, 2019.</p>

<p class="">As Nigerians await the outcome of these investigations, many have called for a more people friendly Police following the increasing cases of brutality by men of the Force in the country. </p>

<p class="">My cab arrived one of the night clubs at about 2am to take me home. In the distance, girls dressed in flowing hijabs huddled under the street lights, awaiting customers. Abuja always fashions out a way to beat the system, whether in hijab, miniskirt or bums short.</p>

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