Fire-razed SMALL KURAMO where men sleep with ‘cheap’ women in shanties comes back to live in Lekki, Lagos

In March, 2016 an early morning fire razed a notorious shanty, Kuramo that was populated by commercial sex workers in Lekki near Lagos State Low Cost Housing Estate also known as Jakande Estate

Not a few people considered it as good riddance to bad rubbish. The general thinking was that the end of the notorious shanty had come. Alas, they were wrong. From the ashes of the early morning fire has risen a smaller version of Kuramo, the Lagos beach notorious for the escapades of commercial sex workers and their numerous clients, OKORIE UGURU reports.

SMALL Kuramo, a fun spot beside the Lekki Beach in Lagos State, in recent past enjoyed the reputation of a red-light neigbourhood where unsafe commercial sex trade boomed. Commercial sex was the major pre-occupation of the numerous women in and around the area who enjoyed the patronage of numerous male visitors who thronged the spot for fun and in the process engage the women in sexual escapades.

Its real notoriety, however, derived from the numerous makeshift cubicles cobbled together as platforms for sexual pleasure. Each of the shanties looked dangerous and extremely unhygienic to live in. In March, 2016, a curious early morning fire had razed the place and sent both the pimps and the commercial sex workers scampering. Two people were reckoned to have died from the incident while more than 100 shanties were razed.

The deceased persons, a trader named Azeez a.k.a. Akube and a lady identified simply as Kemi, were said to be asleep when the fire started around 3 am. Speaking on the incident, a trader named Jude, who had two cabins at the spot, recalled what he lost to the fire incident. He said: “I was sleeping when I heard a bang on my door and I was told that the area was on fire.

I rushed out immediately, but by the time I got there, I couldn’t take much from the wellstocked boutique. Hoodlums had stolen all the goods before I got there. It was so unfortunate. “That was the place where many of us made a living, but now it is gone. I just pray we won’t be sent away from the place.

Most of us lost so many things to the fire. I could only pick my hangers from the shop. I couldn’t retrieve a single clothe.” Another resident named Isaac, who volunteered a clue on the cause of the fire outbreak, said he was told that a woman was cooking in the house where she had stored fuel.

“The fire spread so fast. Even those whose houses were not affected moved their things out.’’ But it was different strokes for different folks as many residents of the environs, especially those at the Lagos State Low Cost Housing Estate popularly called Jakande Estate had heaved a sigh of relief over the incident.

According to them, the squalid dwelling was an attraction for different kinds of shady characters who were responsible for robbing many people in the neighbourhoods of money and other valuable items.

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Their joy over the fire incident was, however, short-lived as much more virulent form of sexual activities are now creeping into the notorious spot and is gradually spreading to a wider perimeter. According to one of the residents, after the fire incident, the Lagos State Government had fenced the place off with barbed wire, forcing some of the sex workers to move further down to Alpha Beach area while others looked for conducive places in the neighbourhoods to continue their sexual escapades.

But after some time, some unknown persons removed the barbed wire with which the place waas fenced off while some of the sex workers returned to the place and are now plying their trade in a rather degrading way.

With their new base now at a place just a few metres from the former spot, they are gradually spreading out towards re-inhabiting the original spot. Their new makeshift structures where the commercial sex workers make love with their male customers are shanties that are very degrading. There is no electricity or convenience.

The entire atmosphere reeks of marijuana just as fierce-looking boys give unfamiliar visitors the kind of look that would send shivers than their spines. There is no light in the whole area except a few cheap battery-powered torches with which alcohol vendors display their wares at night.

The ladies of the night stand just at the roadside beckoning to would be customers. An innocent visitor would not but wonder what pleasure a man would derive from sleeping with a woman in such a debased environment. Perhaps their motivation stems from the cheap sex on offer. The ladies of easy virtue offer sex for as low as N1,000 or even less. Indeed some of the boys our correspondent found hanging around the place on day when “business is poor” the girls could go lower than N500.

There is nothing permanent about the new sex cubicles erected at Small Kuramo. The tent is less than five feet high, built in a space of 5.5ft by 4ft. There is space only for one mattress and nothing else. Whatever business a customer does with the commercial sex worker is done in the dark, heightening the chance of contracting diseases since patrons see little of the ladies they sleep with. However, some of them have managed to fix a battery-powered touch bough from some Hausa hawkers for N200. For better knowledge of the goings on at the beach, our reporter approached.

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