No fewer than 2000 commercial sex workers in Awka, the Anambra State capital, have concluded plans to commence strike action today (Wednesday).According to them, this is resulting from a misunderstanding between the prostitutes and the Anambra State Government, that has led to the pulling down of their “settlement” near the cattle market at Amansea Awka North Local Government area of the state. The State Urban Development Board sealed off the place as at about 3:12pm on Monday with over 50 armed police personnel, saying the brothels were being used by kidnappers and other criminals. The commercial sex workers quickly mobilised and set the remaining structures at the cattle market ablaze shortly after the demolition, accusing the ASUDEP officials of calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
One Rachael who leads the prostitutes, told our correspondent that the government
officials were wicked and inhuman as they destroyed their “business centre without notice “.
“We are decent people. We do our business and go our way. We don’t habour criminals. After all, most of the people that visit us are government officials. They want me to expose them? They destroyed our centre and left behind other huts, kiosks and canteens that belong to the Hausa cattle traders. Is that justice? Don’t those ones habour kidnappers and criminals?"
Reacting, the General Manager, Anambra State Urban Development Board, Mr. Enemmuo Nathan Chinedu, who led the operation, said the exercise was part of Governor Willie Obiano’s resolve to rid the state of criminals.Chinedu insisted the structures demolished were illegal buildings where prostitutes, kidnappers and armed robbers resided.
He said the demolition would be extended to Nnewi, Onitsha and other cities where brothel and illegal structures are situated “until all prostitutes in the state relocate.”
He said three-week notice was given to them to vacate the area before the operation took place.
“A lot of prostitutes live around Amansea cattle market, spoiling our children and constituting nuisance in the area and you know that anywhere there is brothel, criminals and kidnappers hover around there. In my capacity as the ASUDEB GM, I will ensure that this doesn’t exist anymore in the state and our activities are in line with our amiable governor’s policy on zero tolerance for criminals and kidnappers in the state” he said.
Another source who is a cattle trader in the affected area said all illegal structures in the market were marked for demolition by ASUDEB 21 days ago, noting however that their wives’ canteens were not part of the ones marked for demolition.
The Alhaji said, “Ashawo is not part of our business here. Our main business is selling and buying of cows only and the idea of the demolition is to remove all illegal structures used for prostitution. The ones they did not demolish are the places where our cattle dealers that come from the North stay and canteens where our wives cook for our customers.”
He lamented that some of shanties spared from demolition by the state government were later set ablaze by the prostitutes.