Abuja Slum Where Prostitution Is ‘Legal’

The prevalence of prostitution, though illegal in Nigeria, has become a source of concern for the residents of the Mabushi community in Abuja, as it is treated as a legal business by some persons.


Research by HipCity Innovation Centre (HipCity Hub), a non-governmental organisation in Abuja, indicates that sources of economic support are hard to come by in the community due to factors such as lack of education and the general unemployment in the country. Because of this, some girls and women in the slum have become commercial sex workers in order to provide financial support for themselves and their family.

Also, the rate of teenage pregnancy in the community is high and has affected the chances of young women going to school.

While some of the sex workers are willing to quit and get decent jobs, most of them have one limitation or the other preventing them from leaving the job.   

These sex workers are said to make between N1, 500 to N6, 000 from sleeping with an average of three men per day. It was also learnt that sex workers in the community pay between N1, 000 to N2, 000 a day for their accommodation depending on the size of their room.

Decent families in this slum are however said to be paying way less than what the commercial sex workers pay.  While others pay 30,000 to 45,000 a year for a room, a sex worker in the slum pays N360, 000 for a similar house in a year, according to HipCity Hub.

A cross-section
of houses in Mabushi slum

The report further added that an average commercial sex worker in the community sleeps with not lesser than three men a day for a fee between N500 to N2000 a day.

 What The Law Says About Prostitution

According to section 223 of the  Criminal Code Act, Cap C30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, “Any person who procures a girl or woman who is under the age of eighteen years to have unlawful carnal connection with any other person or persons, either in Nigeria or elsewhere;


“Or procures a woman or girl to become a common prostitute, either in Nigeria, or elsewhere;

“Or procures a woman or girl to leave Nigeria with intent that she may become an inmate of a brothel elsewhere;

“Or procures a woman or girl to leave her usual place of abode in Nigeria, with intent that she may, for the purposes of prostitution, become an inmate of a brothel, either in Nigeria or elsewhere; is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years.

“A person cannot be convicted of any of the offences defined in this section upon the uncorroborated testimony of one witness. The offender may be arrested without a warrant.”

The above stated law according to the Executive Director of HipCity Hub, Bassey Bassey is obviously being violated in the slum.

Bassey told our correspondent that prostitution thrives in the community because the commercial sex workers and law enforcement agents seem to have some sort of agreement.

Mabushi Residents Going About Their Dialy Activities

“While there’s an indication of collaboration between the practitioners and the law enforcement agencies, they get raided sometimes but you find the ladies resume their trade after some days or a week.”

He, however, said some of the girls are desperate to leave the act but feel pressured as they have to fend for themselves on a daily basis.

“They want a business that will fetch daily income with little or no time to learn a skill for most.

“These commercial sex workers want the area council, ministry of women affairs, politicians, religious group, NGO and elites around Mabushi to support them with soft loans, tricycles, and mobile shops to sell wares.”

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