By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ever heard of the Chinese World War 11 comfort women? Well, comfort women were a group of Chinese women in the occupied territories, forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War 11, just for the singular purpose of providing emotional support for soldiers.
Though Ekiti is not at war with anyone, neither is it an occupied territory, but a group of criminally minded street urchins, popularly known as area boys have created a colony in Atikankan area of Ado-Ekiti, where they have been luring teenage girls, just for the purpose of sexual pleasure after a heavy bout of cannabis sativa smoking.
This type of criminality, where under-aged girls are recruited to give sexual pleasures to drug addicts is so novel in Ekiti, that it almost escaped the radar of the law enforcement agencies, but thanks to the vigilance of the Vigilante Group, what was hidden has been exposed.
Atikankan, a City’s dark spot
Atikankan in Ado-Ekiti, could easily be described as the most notorious area in the state capital, it housed most of the criminal dens and hideouts, where drug peddlers trade their wares openly with reckless abandon, it is also an abode for commercial sex workers, most of the brothels in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, are situated in that particular area.
Once, it is dusk, Atikankan comes alive and trading of all sorts begins. The population of these run-away teenage girls is swelling by the day, and it is instructive to note that most of these girls are from broken homes. They have found homes in the abode of drug addicts, who use them as sex slaves in exchange for drugs and little cash.
Victims of abuse and stories: Tobi Gbadamosi is just 15-years-old, but the young girl’s ordeal in her short span of existence far outweighs her age, she has experienced what many ladies in their twenties, or thirties and forties have never seen in their lives: she smokes marijuana, engage in wild sex and aborts pregnancies at will.
In her words, “ I have only aborted once, then I was fourteen. I had gone to stay with a relative in a neighbouring town when I met a man who eventually impregnated but bolted away thereafter. I returned home to find out that the only option available to save my face was to abort the baby and my mum helped me after she had found out the truth about it,” Tobi said.
How the girls were apprehended
A member of the Vigilante group who had led a vigilante operation to the places where the girls were picked up, Mr. Babatunde Owoeye told Vanguard that “we picked two of them in Atikankan area and the others in Okeila. The parents of one of the girls named Tolu have been looking for her for about two weeks.
‘’When we eventually got a tip-off about her whereabouts from her friends around their house. We stormed the place in a notorious dark spot in Ado-Ekiti, popularly known as Atikankan and we were able to apprehend her. “ She had raised the alarm to alert some tough looking young men in the place who rushed out carrying cutlasses to attack us. But when they found out that we out-numbered them, they took to their heels.
“We discovered that the girls are being camped in the hideouts, made to have marathon sex with the wild young men there who also smoke marijuana and initiate the girls into occult activities.
“Many of the girls had absconded home three weeks ago. A parent of one of them had come to report that her daughter had ran away from home to practice prostitution with street boys, and pleaded that we help look for her,’’ the father said.
Confession: None of the girls who were scantily dressed, deny any of the allegations levelled against them. In fact, they not only corroborated the accusations but also added details.
The 16-year old told Vanguard that she had actually left home for about 9 days before she was caught. Suliya said she had been asked to hawk her mother’s wares when she absconded and teamed up with two other friends to visit their boyfriends’ places.
“I had dropped the palm oil my mother asked me to hawk at my grand mum’s place and followed my friends to visit the boys. I have a boyfriend among the boys. We had stayed with the boys till around 7pm that day and I reasoned that it was already too late so we passed the night with the boys and had sex with them.
“ Since that first day, I was afraid to go back home, thinking that my mother would beat me, so we began to stay with my friends’ in their grandmother’s place. We would sleep there and in the morning, eat and go to the boys’ place and be with them till late in the night and return to the grand mother’s place.”
Tolulope, while relating her own story said, “We all have boyfriends among the boys whose cult name is seven stars in Atikankan. Tolulope , 16, stayed in Ogbando street before she abandoned home for the street boys’ abode. Her mother had sent her on an errand which she was supposed to return to in a couple of hours but which she never came home until two days after.
Unhappy at her daughter’s attitude, the angry mother in a fit of anger, sent her back to where she was coming from. To avoid her mother’s rage, Tolu said she ran off to her grand mother’s place where she has since been staying. “I also have a boy friend among the boys from where the Vigilante group apprehended us. We would leave my grandmother’s place every morning and resume at the boys place and be there, catching fun till late in the night when we return to my grand mum’s place.”
What was their reward for the amorous service rendered to their drug-addict boyfriends. While two of them said they don’t receive a dime for giving emotional comfort to the boys, Tobi, one of the girls, confessed that “ My boy friend buy clothes for me and other belongings such as shoes and bras. He also feed me and sometimes give me about N2500 to take care of myself.”