Written by Ademola Olonilua
~Punch Nigeria. Sunday, February 11, 2018.
Catching fun, especially at night, has become a habit for many fun seekers in Lagos. For such people, the prominent places where they choose to catch their fun at night include bars and strip clubs. The go-to place for those who love to turn their X-rated fantasies into realities is usually the strip club. But strip clubs are not easy places to spot in Lagos, except if the fun seeker knows how to look beyond the surface. So, it could be difficult to locate one as there are no eligible signs to advertise their locations, so it is normally a case of, 'if you know, you know.'
Although there are choice strip clubs, both on the Island and the mainland; for the mainland, the clubs' colonies seem to be Allen Avenue and the Government Reservation Area, Ikeja. To spot one, fun seekers only look out for a neon sign or an electronic advertising sign with flickering lights, usually coloured blue and red with what appears to be the drawing of a naked woman.
Funnily enough, Ikeja is the commercial hub of Lagos during the day and also at night. With banks and other business firms situated in the district, human and vehicular traffic in the area during the day is usually heavy and at night, it still comes alive courtesy of the bright lights which seem to focus on the pubs, clubs and even commercial sex workers that conduct their business on the streets.
To a large extent, Ikeja is the red-light district of Lagos State.
Around one of the popular streets in GRA, Ikeja is a popular strip club. While most businesses have locked their doors and closed for the day by 9 pm, that is the time this establishment is resuming for the business of the night, and it takes it right until the following morning.
When Saturday PUNCH visited the establishment at about 9:30 pm on Wednesday, it was obvious that the 'shop' had just opened. Within minutes, the vast compound, which has a large space as its car park, was quickly filled with exotic cars; a testament to the class of people the joint caters for.
It is therefore not surprising that to get into the club as a man on Saturdays; their peak period, a fee of N5,000 is required and on Sundays, the price drops to N3,000. While the ladies pay N3,000 on Saturday and N2,000 on Sundays. Other days are free but the hefty men at the gate never forget to politely ask: 'Sir, anything for your boy even if na one bottle of beer?' Invariably, visitors are sometimes forced to part with money and since it is a high-end club, the bouncers at the door normally smile home.
A worker at the club, who simply identified himself as Tony, and has been working there for about six months, described his life as exciting on Saturdays and Sundays during the peak hours because men are always happy to part with some 'change' (money), knowing they would enjoy their time at the club.
"Bros, during the peak period, I go home with at least N10,000 because most of these big boys either tip me N500 or N1,000. Most times when they are leaving, they are already tipsy and since they must have had a nice time inside the club, they are always happy to part with some money," he said.
A glance at the inside of the club and it would be evident that the interior decorators put a lot of efforts into the thought process that bore the design. The loft was the size of half of an indoor basketball court, but with a boxing ring theme.
The colour of the wallpaper or paint was difficult to ascertain, no thanks to the plethora of disco lights; however, the loft was properly ventilated as there were no fewer than 20 air conditioners.
The chairs, which were an exact replica of cinema seats, further gave the arena a boxing ring theme. The chairs were about 60 in number and they were neatly arranged around the room in a square manner, with the centre being the spot of most of the action. The square space had about four stripper poles where some ladies, all adorned in sexy lingerie, bras and G-strings or bikinis, gyrated to the rhythm of the fast music blaring from the speakers. However, one thing all the strippers in the club had in common was waist beads, which also moved rhythmically to the music.
For those interested in gambling, there was an arcade centre for gambling but no one seemed to pay attention to it at the time our correspondent was there.
The strippers, like magnets, had all the attention. And even for those who did not appear to acknowledge them, the strippers walked up to them to advertise their skills and expertise in giving "unforgettable lap dance". Lap dance cost about N2,000 for 30 minutes or more, depending on how attractive the stripper finds you.
A young lady with beautiful light skin approached this reporter, offering lap dance, but he politely declined. However, she was so adamant in her belief that she could offer "an unforgettable experience", so a deal was struck. Instead of a lap dance, she was offered a bottle of alcoholic beverage and after a few drinks; she began to sing like a canary.
Amanda, 22, told Saturday PUNCH that she recently completed her Ordinary National Diploma at a Polytechnic in Abia State and came to Lagos in December in search of greener pastures after spending all her life in the state.
The young lady lamented that since firms and companies seemed to be bent on discriminating against polytechnic graduates in their recruitments, she decided to take to stripping since she considered it as more dignifying than being a commercial sex worker.
"I was born and brought up in Abia State and I finished my OND programme recently at the school. I came to Lagos because I am the first child of my parents, who are not doing very well financially. My initial idea was to get a good job here and send money to my parents but it was tough to do that because of my OND certificate, so I started this work about a month ago. Now, I am able to send money home, have fun and live well. I earn at least N20,000 per night here," Amanda said.
After the conversation, the apparently tipsy young lady noted that a 'cabin' could be rented, where she would be more than willing to spend time with our correspondent. However, upon inquiry, it was learnt that the establishment had about seven cabins, which could be likened to a cubicle for the private pleasure of their patrons.
The typical modus operandi is for the interested patron to pick his choice lady and head for the cabin.
The use of each cabin cost at least N20,000 and it had just a two-seater chair, mirrors on the wall with an air conditioner. However, the only large cabin there, which could accommodate about four men and four strippers cost about N100,000 to use for a short period of time. So, some patrons advised that they could opt for the use of hotels around or their house for the whole night for the same price.
The club coordinator, who took our correspondent to the cabin, further revealed that they had customers from virtually all spheres of life except the religious circle. But it seemed bankers and entrepreneurs constituted a large part of their customer base.
A lady, who simply introduced herself as Beverly, said, "We only cater for gentlemen. Most of our customers work in big firms but from talking to them, most of the men are bankers and I think it is because there are many banks in this area, so it is natural for them to just come here to relax a bit before going home," she said.
The establishment seemed pricey and Saturday PUNCH learnt that it was due to its location and type of clientele it caters for. It was later discovered that there were other strip clubs in the area offering similar services at cheaper rates.
A neon sign flickered as our correspondent drove down Allen Avenue, some distance from the popular Opebi Roundabout.
There are however sharp contrasts between this strip club and the previous one visited by our correspondent. With just N1,000, you are admitted into this club but the patron must meet the requirements which are clearly printed on a board few feet from its entrance. According to the club's rule board, patrons must be above 18 years old, smoking of Indian hemp is not allowed, and camera or video taking is strictly prohibited.
Dimly lit, this strip club had about four television sets hung on the wall and two of them showed pornography, probably to set the tone for its customers. And for this club, the stage for the strip dance was right in the middle of the bar.
To get a lap dance at this club, one only had to part with N1,000, and for those interested in a more thrilling experience, the VIP section was available but they were not cabins. Saturday PUNCH however learnt that there were two VIP sections in this club with prices being N3,000 and N5,000.
While the section that cost N5,000 was more private, the one that went for N3,000 was not and the girls charged at least N2,000 for 'short time' (quick sex).
Saturday PUNCH also learnt that the strippers at the club were either engaged on permanent or temporary basis. Those engaged on permanent basis sought employment at the club while those engaged on temporary basis were mostly university students, who could be there for a few days to make some money. It was learnt that the club usually hired a female student as its 'public relations officer'.
The club's PRO is given the task of recruiting young ladies from universities, especially those that wish to make quick money over the weekend. Therefore, it is possible for a patron to meet a young stripper at the club and never get to see her again.
Most clubs prefer to have young and attractive ladies to act as their PRO because it is easier for them to recruit strippers and also increase patronage. On the average, they earn between N80,000 and N100,000 monthly.
Another of these clubs situated close to Allen Roundabout also caters for anyone who has money to spend. During the day, the edifice presents a deserted look; but at night, it transforms to a very busy establishment that requires N1,000 for admission.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that in this club, one can register to be a member for just N20,000 per annum and admission would be free to both the main club and the VIP section.
In this club, there were four television sets hanging on the walls, all showing pornography. The club owner, who struck a conversation with our correspondent, revealed that strippers made as much as N20,000 per night but that they hardly stayed for long before moving on. He noted that most of the strippers there were undergraduate students who were there to make quick bucks.
A young man and a lady sat on the same sofa with our correspondent but interestingly, it was the lady that was entertained by a stripper and not the man. Shortly after, a conversation ensued between our correspondent and the couple and it was discovered that they were married.
"Hi, I am Dele, how come you are alone nursing a glass of beer," he enquired while his partner was treated to a lap dance by a stripper.
Dele, who described himself as freight agent, explained that he and his partner got married about two years ago but to spice their marriage, they engaged in different 'out of the box' things.
"My wife and I are very adventurous people and that is probably what brought us together. We like experimenting and since we get bored easily, we never run out of ideas. I am not a big fan of strip clubs but my wife likes it, so we come here occasionally. I also have my fetish for my own kind of things and she indulges me, so we are even and to be honest, it has helped our marriage. Are you married?" he asked.
Our correspondent replied that he was not, to which Dele seemed to shake his head in disappointment.
However, this club had only one VIP section and it cost N5,000 to be admitted to the dark room. Since it had a vast room, there was a high possibility that anyone who went in would find ladies and men locked in passion in the corners and the restrooms as there was only one long sofa that could seat about five people, a standing fan, and an air conditioner in the room.
Saturday PUNCH gathered that most regular club owners, especially on the mainland, are engaging the services of strippers to provide additional spice for customers because of the attraction it is getting from the public.
For instance, a worker at a club around Opebi Link Bridge, said that since they started having strippers at the club, business has been booming. The source said that after their customers have had a wild time on the dance floor, their next point of call is usually the section for strip clubbing, where the men could get laid.