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Naira Scarcity: Sex workers in Kogi reject transfer, introduce POS

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Sex workers in Kogi State have decried the biting scarcity of naira notes in Nigeria, claiming it has negatively affected their business.

Investigations show that the sex workers now carry POS to avoid being defrauded by their customers when they do bank transfers.

Nigerians have found it hard to do transactions since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced February 10, 2023, as the deadline for the swap of old naira notes to new naira notes, even though they have money in their bank account.

The naira became an emergency gold in Nigeria, as anyone in custody of the new 500 and 1000 notes is treated like a king.

Just as many people in the country, including residents of Kogi State are obeying President Muhammadu Buhari’s pronouncement on the usage of new naira notes, business owners, including sex workers (prostitutes) have now opted to collect transfer or use POS machines to sustain their businesses in Kogi.

In Lokoja, some of the popular hot spots where prostitutes gather between 7:30pm to do their business are Nigeria Television Authority, (NTA), roundabout, Jackins, Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ) road and 16 Hours drinking spot.

Other prominent spots where sex workers gather in Lokoja include Lounge 1, in Phase one Lokoja, Federal Medical Center, (FMC), road, Ganaja Junction by flyover, Felele axis, and many more.

In these flash points, the sex hawkers wait for their customers to patronise them, with both parties agreeing on an amount before sex.

It was gathered that, in these areas, some of the sex hawkers who do not have a specific hotel, or their customers can’t afford one, decide to have quick sex outside in a dark place.

Speaking to newsmen, one of the sex workers in Jackins, identified as Zarah, (not real name) explained that she has been in the business for more than one year.

According to her, she lost her parents and does not have anyone who will cater for her needs, hence she decided to go into prostitution business.

When asked how she is sustaining her trade with the naira scarcity quagmires, Zarah responded, “it is not easy at all. It is difficult to buy food or even do anything because of this naira scarcity. We just have to come here every day to try our luck so that we can get something to eat on a daily basis.

“If I don’t sell my body, how will I get food or pay my bills? I am an orphan who has nobody to run to. Any person I meet, especially men, they will want to have my body. So I had no choice than to go into this. For now, if I can’t get physical cash, my customer will transfer. If I see an alert, then we go into business”.

Other sex workers who spoke on the same development lamented over the scarcity of customers in the last two weeks.

According to them, since the issue of naira scarcity, their customers have continued to drop on a daily basis. 

A sex hawker who trades her body on the popular NUJ Road, Queen, said she hardly gets half of what she earned before.

Queen, who noted that she is still finding it difficult to come to terms with the cashless policy introduced by the Federal Government, said she hardly gets two or three clients in a day.

“I don’t trust the cashless policy we are into right now because it does not favour me and my business. Before now, I normally had at least eight men before daybreak. But right now, it is hard to even see two.

“They keep saying they don’t have cash but transfer. I don’t have a bank account, so how will I now receive transfers for my business? This is really hurting my business, I must tell you. As I speak to you, I normally collect N2000 for a short time, while for daybreak, depending on the client, I collect nothing less than N7,000. But now my brother, things have changed. If I see who will give me physical cash, I normally collect N500 for a short time and N3,000 for daybreak.

Meanwhile, the sex workers said they are currently battling with fake transactions from fraudulent customers who patronise them.

According to them, they receive alerts from customers but at the end, the money does not hit their account.

Princess, a sex worker along Lounge I in Phase 1 Lokoja, who thought the reporter wanted to patronise her when she was approached at about 10:30pm on Monday shared her experience in pidgin English saying:

“Bros, I take baba God beg you, make you no come tell me say na transfer you go do ooo if we talk price. I know una type. All these yahoo boys, una go dress fine like say una be better person, but if person gree for una, una go do the person strong thing.

“As for me, I no go form mugu again for this Lokoja. Una think say to dey sleep with different men, e easy. Una get sister, she go tell una how far as e dey go. If I go collect transfer from you, I must see the alert and confirm for my account before we go go anywhere. If you hold cash I for prefer am.

“He don pass four men in the last on week wey sleep with me in the name of transfer. Till today, I no see anything for my account and I get fake alert. I no come Lokoja come look Uche face. I come here come hustle. Just because say naira scarce, una go come they use another means to dupe us where we they hustle genuinely and no want go thief for road. If you dey game, make I know. Day break na N10,000 while short time na N4,000”. (Sic).

As a result of their unfortunate financial experiences in the last two weeks, some sex workers in Lokoja, especially those in Felele, NUJ axis, have resorted to carrying POS to avoid being cheated by fraudulent customers.

It was gathered that the sex workers put the POS in their bags in case their customers have no physical cash.

Precious, a single mother of two who has been in the sex business for over seven years, said using a POS machine will guarantee her money in her account.

According to her, it reduces the incident of fake alerts and ensures that she has money in her account to pay her bills at the end of the day.

“Some of us in this business have decided to get our own POS machines to avoid fake transfers.

“If you observe, there is scarcity of naira notes in the country. Although our daily customers have dropped, we decided to start collecting transfers. But this is not favouring us.

“That is why we carry POS. If we agree on a fixed price, you will insert your ATM in our POS machine. When the transaction is successful, then we can go and have sex”, Precious added.

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