Working Lives

Working Lives: The Working Girl Who Prefers Lagos to Cotonou Clients

The Working Girls of Lekki

This is one of our most unusual and revealing in the series. Working Lives provides insights into the lives and finances of people on low-incomes or in “offbeat” vocations. The world’s oldest form of self-employment remains “off-beat” after all these centuries but the incomes of the ladies we spoke to-at an average of N100,000 per week- is by no means modest. We have of course used the “working names” of the ladies. Read and discover the different reasons why they started the “hustle”, the different things they do with the income, their different plans for the future and more.


“I was very ashamed of myself the first night. We went to sit in an upscale bar in Cotonou to look for customers. I wore very revealing clothes that advertised what I was there to do”. 

Where are you from 

I am from Ondo state.

Tell me about your education?

I currently school in Benin Republic. I am studying Mass Communication. My parents decided to send me to school outside Nigeria because of ASUU strikes.

Tell us about your family

My dad is a LASTMA officer while my mom is a fashion designer. I have three siblings. We all grew up in Lagos. I learnt to sew under my mom. So, I am fashion designer.

You are a fashion designer? So, what led you to this hustle then? 

I would say frustration. I was not getting so many customers. It takes time to develop a good client base. Then when I got to Benin Republic, my parents stopped sending me money after about three months. I knew how things were in the house was before I left, so I was not surprised. I didn’t bother to pester them for money. I met this girl in school that was quite popular.  We got along quite well and that was how I started. She had money. A popping babe on campus. Everyone knows what she is into to get money.  She was not shy about it. It is not like she goes about telling people she is a runz girl but we all know. So, I started getting close to her just to become her friend. She often gave me money but she advised me to join instead of just suffering unnecessarily when I could easily make money with my body.

What was the experience like going into this?

I was very ashamed of myself the first night. We went to sit in an upscale bar in Cotonou to look for customers. Of course, I wore very revealing clothes that advertised what I was there to do.  I knew I was doing something wrong. But the pull of the money to be made was too strong. I drank a lot of alcohol so I could suppress any feelings of shame or embarrassment. The client paid about N20,000 in CFA, the currency in Benin Republic. I was really happy making that kind of money in one night. Considering my family situation, N20,000 is a lot money to us.

How do you fix your fee?

I do not fix my fees. The client helps me decide how much to charge. If you look really good and rich, I try and charge a lot of money. I usually start negotiating from N50,000 or N100,000.

Do you ever worry about your safety, based on the stories we here of these days?

Yes of course. My safety is my number one priority. I use different types of native concoctions. I have nothing to hide. Do not get me wrong, the concoction isn’t to harm clients. The jazz is to protect me from anyone planning to harm me. This is Lagos, one has to be very vigilant. I also always tell my friends where I am. I even go as far as telling them the name of the hotel and room number just in case anything happens. I get the jazz from one of these local herbalists in the creeks of Abeokuta in Ogun state. One of my close friends who is a yahoo boy took me to the baba. I paid the baba about N10,000 for the concoction. He also bathed me at midnight with black soap and other things.

How does the jazz work? Did the baba tell you a spirit would appear to defend you if someone tried to harm you?

No! A spirit will not appear. It’s all based on one’s beliefs. The same way you believe God is protecting you from evil is the same way I believe the jazz is protecting me from evil.

Have you had any funny experience with a client e.g. someone refusing to pay you?

No, not at all. I avoid broke ass people. I have met so many really chilled people in this business. My clients are usually married men that just want to have a good time and young yahoo boys with money to splash. My clients are really chilled people.

Whats the highest you have gotten paid?

The highest I have gotten for a night is N50k. I no dey do pass myself. Some of my colleagues go the extra length for more money. Some clients will tell you if you sleep with them without condoms, they would pay you more. I don’t do such. I am ok with the normal service and pay agreed.

Also Read: Working Lives: The Area Boy Who Was Training to be a Yahoo-Yahoo

Do you have loyal clients?

Yes. I have clients that reach out to me from time to time after our initial hookup. But I try as much as possible not to go into anything serious. I avoid a relationship of any sort. It is strictly business!

How much do you make in a good week?

About N150k soft. Some people earn a lot more.

I am curious, do you ever feel ashamed about your job? 

When I started yes but no longer. Selling my body for cash is just a business. What is the big deal about that? I am simply just rendering a service. In advanced countries of the world, sex workers are recognized. Nigerians just love pretending. The funniest thing is that all those people who bash sex workers, calling us olosho, ashewo and all sorts, 90% of them enjoy our services too. Nigerians and hypocrisy are like 5 & 6.

Do you have savings and how much do you save?

Yes. I have savings and I also invest my money too. The main reason I started this job is to make money, so why would I be making money and not save? I do not plan to do this for long anyways. I just want to make sure I can pay my school fees up until graduation and make myself comfortable. I have invested in renting a shop, three sewing machines and sewing materials. This is all in 7-8 months? How would I have been able to do all this without this hustle? People should stop shaming sex workers. Hustling is just a means to an end for many of us.  I have four apprentices that work under me. So, whenever I am out and about with my other job, they oversee things. They are quite good and I trust them to always deliver what clients want. I only come in to supervise or to work on more complex styles.

Do you still work in Cotonou?

No, I do not hustle in Cotonou anymore. There aren’t so many big yahoo boys there compared to Lagos. That’s the big difference. Guys in Lagos would not only pay you for sex but would also spoil you, take you out for dinner and all that. Cotonou guys hardly do that

Oluwatomi Otuyemi

Oluwatomi Otuyemi, a Geology graduate from Crawford University, has 5 years experience in corporate corporate communications. He has a passion for storytelling, and investigative reporting.

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