Located in the Lagos capital, Ikeja, Allen Avenue is a standout amongst the most renowned lanes in Ikeja. It is a residential area with refined and urbane settlement, workplaces, and shopping centres for different types of individuals.
The street is easily accessible and well connected to some roads in Ikeja such as Opebi and Adeniyi Jones. The road is also a mid-point for social activities – there are tons of bars, inns, night clubs, and eateries which serve both local and continental delicacies.
The two sides of Allen
But there is another reason why Allen Avenue is famous (or infamous, as the case may be). During the day, Allen assumes a pretentious respectability, as businessmen and women from different parts of Lagos arrive here in hopes of chasing their dreams. However, when the sun goes down, the darker side of Allen crawls out. Home to over 6 strip clubs, several bars, nightclubs, lounges, and bars, it has over time been described as Nigeria’s own Sin City. Some people even prefer to call it Nigeria’s Sodom and Gomorrah. When the sun fades out, survival is what people come to chase on the street.
Apart from the notorious sex work that Allen Avenue is known for, Nairametrics understands that there are other activities people engage in at night to chase survival— though it could be argued that these activities leverage the debauchery that goes on there.
Of numerous spots notorious for heavy commercial sex activities, Allen Avenue tops the list. In view of how sex workers are being patronised here, it won’t be erroneous to say sex work is one of the most lucrative businesses to be engaged in.
The prostitutes’ modus operandi
Sex workers are the main drivers of every other enterprise one may come up with in this neighbourhood. They are in their hundreds, all of whom are constantly seeking who will trade with them to derive pleasures of the flesh. Ladies of different sizes and colours come from various parts of Lagos and Ogun states, to trade nothing but their flesh for money in this area. As soon as the sun goes down, the sex workers come out attractively dressed in skimpy clothes and other sexually appealing wears to entice their patrons.
At dusk, a good number of the sex workers converge in front of Peka Hotel. During the day, Peka, which is adjacent to Sweet Sensation at Opebi, just looks like an open space where anyone can go for a drink. But at night, the place comes alive. In large numbers, fun seekers gather at the open bar to drink and patronise food vendors around, while the sex workers prospect for customers.
How much does an average prostitute earn per night?
Sex workers make as much as N30,000 per night. This is according to Blessing who trades her body for money. During a chit-chat, Blessing said that on a poor night, she makes nothing less than N10,000 from one or two persons. She said that sex work for her really pays better than her fashion designing work. When asked how regularly she comes, she said she comes almost every day to make money.
According to Blessing:
“I am a fashion designer during the day, while I come here at night to hustle. Sex work really moves here and it’s being valued. To have a quickie with me goes for nothing less than N5,000 and on a poor day I will have at least 2 quickie sessions. I charge at least N10,000 for all night sexual engagement.”
One of Blessing’s colleagues, who identified herself as Ife, said that she’s still processing her admission into the university, and comes to Allen to earn money for survival.
“Per night, I earn as much as N20,000 and on a poor day, I earn at least N5,000 to N10,000 without paying for rent or anything, the only thing I pay for is condom to protect myself.”
Hotels & bars
Allen Avenue is an amusement spot for hotels and bars where liquor is sold with loads of boisterous music to energise. Aside from Peka, which is the most popular hotel and bar in Allen, there are other bars and eateries that have little rooms connected. These small rooms are let out on short notice and for lengths of time at agreed prices to willing customers who patronise the fun spot.
These little rooms around the facility are ever seldom enough for business of night.
At night, it is also easy to get spots where you find different delicacies of food. Amongst the many delicacies you can easily find are noodles, suya, grills, and shawarma. These are quickly processed meals that can easily be made for to quench your hunger.
Oddly, selling food on the roadside of Allen Avenue may be considered more profitable than working in corporate bodies like banks. While most of the food vendors felt reluctant about disclosing the amounts they make in a night, they were quick to tell how much they pay as rent on monthly basis. When our correspondent asked a shawarma vendor how sales are for him in the area, he answered vaguely that it is fair. When queried further about how much he pays for rent, he said that he pays N35,000 on monthly basis.
It is pertinent to understand that for the monthly rent of N35,000, the shawarma vendor doesn’t sell during the day, neither is he provided with a roof or anything else. The only thing he’s provided is a space to have his shawarma stand. The vendor, who identified himself as Victor, when asked if he’s not running the business at loss, replied that he makes above his rent on a monthly basis.
Similarly, a suya vendor on the road side said that he pays N25,000 as rent on a monthly basis.
Another big business on the Allen Avenue is selling prepared noodles. Vendors of this particular meal, despite how numerous they are on the roadside, are always engaged all through. Once they resume work, they stand till dawn, attending to various customers. This was an obstacle to engaging in a dialogue with them, but from observation, preparing roadside noodles is a thriving business there.
At night, transportation business is also making a killing there. Since public means of transport like keke-napeps, buses and motorcycles are often closed during the nightlife hours at Allen, private cabs are the ones that stay all night to trade.
People come from different parts of Lagos to have fun and most importantly, to do business with sex workers. Some of these people prefer to take the sex workers to destinations of their choices. In so doing, they take cabs to their preferred places.
Even some people, who work in the day as corporate staff, engage in the transportation business by night. A taxi driver, who identified himself as Deolu, said that he uses his boss’ car to make money at night when the car is released to him. When asked how much he makes per night, Deolu replied that the least he makes is N20,000 per night.
When you own any form of space in Allen Avenue, all you need to do is rent it out and literally go to sleep while earning revenue. From observation, banks’ security officials also trade during the nightlife hours. Besides banks’ security officials, other security personnel that are employed to ensure the safety of certain premises also engage in businesses outside their contracts.
During Nairametrics’ visit to Allen Avenue, it was gathered that banking premises are being used as parking spaces at night. Fun enthusiasts who visit Allen with their cars are these security men’s potential customers. To have your car parked in any of the banks and other premises, costs between N500 and N1000.
Aside from parking space, some persons also rent out space at night to food vendors and we learnt that food vendors pay certain amounts of money to authorities and landlords to trade their businesses.
More so, there are spaces in Allen Avenue, mainly designed for quickies. Some persons, while negotiating with the sex workers, prefer to engage them on short term bases. By so doing, they need places designed for brief acts of sexual intercourse. This is because, in most cases, most of the bars and hotels that have rooms for sex workers to trade are usually occupied.
In this context, some gatemen, whose workplaces are in Allen, trade with the rooms given to them by their employers. Sex workers and their customers pay between N500 and N1000 per round to have sex in their rooms.
CITN issues rejoinder to ICAN’s claim over court case
The rebuttal claims that there are some ‘critical misinterpretations’ contained in ICAN’s claims concerning the judgment.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has issued a rebuttal to the “critical misrepresentations” that are supposedly contained in a notice to members sent out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) over a court case, as reported by Nairametrics.
Recall that ICAN had informed its members that Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the High Court of Lagos State ruled in their favour by striking out “Suit No. LD/3288GCM/19 – CITN VS ICAN” which was filed by CITN. In the suit, CITN had, among other things, prayed the court to restrain ICAN members from filing tax returns with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) unless they have a CITN license.
CITN’s position: Now, in its rebuttal to ICAN’s claims concerning the court case, a copy of which was sent to Nairametrics, CITN clarified the following points:
- The Ruling of the Hon. Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the 2/7/2020 in LD/3288GCM/19 did not invalidate the MOU and TOS because it did NOT address the issues in the substantive suit, itself. However, since ICAN has resiled from the MoU and ToS it freely entered with CITN, the CITN will not stop ICAN from walking away.
- The Judge only struck out the suit based on the Preliminary Objection of ICAN to the effect that the suit was an abuse of court process because the issues in it were the same as the issues in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 – ICAN VS FIRS & 1 OTHER which was earlier decided in favour of CITN. However, the issues in the two suits are completely different and distinct as has now been explicitly admitted by ICAN in its Notice under reference when it said: “The earlier ruling at the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make pronouncement on the memorandum and terms of settlement between ICAN and CITN.”ICAN having admitted that the judgment in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make any pronouncement on the MOU and TOS (and this is a fact), how then could issues in that suit be the same as those in LD/3288GCM/2019 (decided by Justice Onigbanjo) which only asked for judicial pronouncement on the MOU and TOS?
- Regulation 5 of the Tax Administration (Self-Assessment) Regulations, 2011, was categorically annulled by the Hon. Justice Liman in the judgment delivered in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 on 21/11/2019. None of the lawyers to the parties (including ICAN) can deny hearing the annulment of Regulation 5 during delivery of the judgment. It is unfortunate that ICAN is jumping the gun in a case with a pending post-judgment application.
- In the judgment delivered in FHC/L/CS/1480/2018 – CHIEF IGBAROOLA & OTHERS VS FIRS & OTHERS on 21/5/2019, the Hon. Justice A. O. Faji, declared: “CITN Act is thus superior to ICAN Act on the issue of tax practice. The Self-Assessment Regulations being in conflict with the CITN Act is null and void. The Plaintiffs cannot practice as tax agents without first being members of the 2nd Defendant.”
- In the Court of Appeal judgement of 2013 between ICAN v. CITN, it was held that the power to regulate and control the tax profession, to the exclusion of any other body, in Nigeria lies with CITN.
- It is, therefore, now firmly settled from all the relevant judgements at the Lagos High Court, Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, which have all upheld the primacy of the CITN Charter, that no member of ICAN can practice taxation without first being a member of CITN.
- For the avoidance of doubt, no ICAN member, who is not registered with CITN, has been permitted by any law or court decision to practice taxation. The law has made it clear about the professional body that can regulate tax profession in Nigeria and CITN reserves the right to invoke the relevant provisions against any person that violates the provisions of its charter.
The backstory: The disagreement between ICAN and CITN dates back to 2015 following a misinterpretation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Terms of Settlement (ToS) between the two organisations. Due to the disagreement, CITN took legal actions in a bid to basically make the MoU and ToS binding on ICAN members.
UPDATED: Court rules ICAN members do not need CITN license to file tax returns
The suit, which was filed some years ago by CITN, was basically struck out for lacking merit.
Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the High Court of Lagos State has ruled that members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) do not need to be licensed by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) before they can file tax returns.
The ruling on July 2nd followed a suit filed by CITN trying to restrain ICAN members from filing tax returns for their clients unless they have a practicing CITN license.
A notice to ICAN members regarding this development, as seen by Nairametrics, noted that Justice Onigbanjo struck out the suit after describing it as “an abuse of court process and an embarrassment to the judiciary.”
The backstory: Nairametrics understands that the disagreement between ICAN and CITN stemmed from the misinterpretation of a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Terms of Settlement (ToS) between the two organisations. Consequently, CITN had filed a suit before the High Court of Lagos State, seeking the following:
- A declaration that the Memorandum of Understanding and Terms of Service both dated February 12, 2015 between the CITN and ICAN are valid, subsisting, and binding on the CITN and ICAN.
- An injunction restraining ICAN whether by its agents, privies, assigns, or whosoever called, from repudiating, resiling from or acting in any manner or doing anything that is inconsistent with, contrary to or is a violation of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Terms of Settlement dated February 12, 2015, between the CITN and ICAN.
- Determine whether the Memorandum of Understanding and Terms of Settlement both dated February 12, 2015 between the CITN and ICAN are valid, subsisting, and binding on CITN and the ICAN.
However, last week’s ruling by Justice S. A. Onigbanjo which, by the way, was delivered virtually due to COVID-19, has made it impossible for the CITN to implement the terms of the 2015 MoU and ToS. The ruling also aligned with ICAN’s earlier objection to the MoU and ToS.
The status quo: In view of this development, ICAN has informed its members that they do not need to obtain any license from the CITN before they can file tax returns for their clients with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.
ICAN members were also informed that an earlier ruling by the Federal High Court on the case does not affect the status quo. This is because “the earlier ruling by the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make pronouncement on the memorandum and terms of settlement between ICAN and CITN.” More so, regulation 5 of the FIRS Act was not reflected in the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court.
China more willing to restructure Africa’s debt than private creditors
Agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors.
A recent study by John Hopkins University reveals it may be easier for African Nations to raise debt and also get debt relief from China than private creditors.
The report of the study comes a day after China promised to cancel interests from loans to African nations and restructure debt to Africa. The study also revealed that China has restructured $15 billion of African debt and written off $3.4 billion in the past ten years.
After 1,000 Chinese loans, including restructured Mozambican and Republic of Congo debt, were analysed, the researchers concluded that “the agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors”.
The Paris Club recently agreed to pause debt payment valued at $11 billion for the poorest 73 nations freeing up capital to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, not all eligible nations signed up citing fears of default ratings if debt obligations are not met.
The study discovers difficulties in renegotiating terms on International Bonds for African countries due to the disparate ownership structure making private creditors unwilling to grant complete debt relief, citing warnings on rating downgrades.
China accounts for about 20% of Africa’s external debt and lent over $150 billion to the continent between 2000-2018 the study reveals. Chinese President, Xi Jinping has urged global leaders to be more pragmatic with debt suspension for Africa.
The study says much of the terms of Chinese debt to Africa has not been transparent and the relief negotiations may follow the same path.