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.