Officials of the Lagos State Task force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit on Wednesday night stormed Isaac John and Toyin Street in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria and arrested 52 suspected commercial sex hawkers.
The task force acted on a report published in The NEWS magazine of this week about commercial sex hawkers taking over the area and that this Wednesday night was going to be the ladies’ night.
The task force officials first of all carried out a survey of the area around 10 pm and went back to the office to strategise only to strike around 12 am and arrested the suspected prostitutes whose ages range between 18 and 34 years.
They were taken to the task force office in a Black Maria. The raid was massive as several armed policemen carried out the onslaught.
Task force Chairman, Bayo Sulaiman confirmed the arrest when contacted, saying that there had been complaints and public outcry over the invasion of commercial sex hawkers in Isaac John and Toyin Street junction where there is a popular hotel whose owner also runs a night club.
“Isaac John is where we have the Government House and it is a criminal offence to engage in harlotry by the sides of the road. The people in the area have been crying over the upsurge of prostitutes in the area and the traffic gridlock by the night club,” he said. Sulaiman stated that the hotel and its night club had been causing untold traffic menace around Toyin Junction, saying that the owner of the joints had been served notice to abate the nuisance going on in the area.
“We have told the owner to desist from obstructing traffic in the area. We will not tolerate this anymore,” he said.
Sulaiman warned that the task force would extend the raid on commercial sex hawkers to Lagos Island, Ikoyi and Victoria Island where their activities had been on the increase, while urging those still in the trade to stop it as the wrath of the law would soon catch up with them.
“The state government will no longer condone this act of prostitution. These people are bad example to the youths. We have taken their photographs and finger print individually and when we apprehend them the second time, the punishment will be severe.
“We acted based on TheNEWS magazine report that Wednesday was going to be ladies’ night. We had to wait for that time and we struck and arrested them,” he stated.
The task force boss said the arrested commercial sex hawkers would be charged to court today, saying those convicted would be punished according to the dictates of the law.
He, however, said contrary to reports that once the prostitutes were arrested, some ‘big boys’ would settle task force officials to effect their release, the task force did not take money from anybody.
“We have arraigned several of them in court in the past and we had gotten conviction on some of them. The issue of collecting money is out of it. The so-called ‘big boys’ in the club don’t settle us,” he said.