By Chimaobi Nwai
Three alleged call girls (sex workers) between 17 to 25 years have died in a fire accident in a popular brothel/bar known as ‘Amaka Padded Bar’ located at Okpuno Otolo, near Nnewi Diocesan Hospital, also known as Akwudo General Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State.
The girls were said to have been allegedly locked in the brothel owned by a Ndimgbu Nnewi born woman but married to Mbanagu Nnewi, the woman said to be known for arranging young girls for interested men and taking her share of the agreed money with the men while settling the girls after servicing the men.
Meanwhile, the Police in Anambra State has confirmed the death of the three girls in the inferno and the arrest of the proprietor of the brothel/Bar alleged to have locked them in the place and left with the keys.
The Anambra Police Command, through its Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Haruna Mohammed, said the Police is currently investigating the matter, but declined to give the full name of the woman and the deceased.
However, the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr John Bassey Abang, who also confirmed the incident when he was contacted, said: “it is true that the inferno consumed three ladies said to be workers in the hotel.”
According to the Commissioner, Abang “that the place is a hotel and drinking joint and the waiters who did a sleepover at the joint all lost their lives in the inferno, the incident is very unfortunate one.”
“The owner of the said drinking joint where the three ladies lost their lives had made useful statements aiding the police in their investigations.”
Vanguard gathered that the Proprietor of ‘Amaka Padded Bar’ the inscription on the entrance gate, recruits girls between 17 to 25, house them for men who are interested in sleeping with them for short and full time, and whatever prize she agrees with the men who come for the girls, is not objected by the girls.
She is also said did not allow the girls to be part of the bargaining with the men that sleeps with them, and at the end of servicing the men, she gives them their agreed fees and they dare not object.
When Vanguard visited the scene of the incident at Okpuno Otolo Nnewi, which is also near St Thomas Church Otolo Nnewi, Nnewi North Local Government Area, people were seen coming to take a look at the vacated compound with the gate locked with a padlock key.
Some people who are conversant with the commercial sex activities and transactions that goes on there, particularly the commercial motorcyclist, that bring men and comes back to take them out of the place after their sex escapades with the girls, described the proprietor as being very ruthless with the business
Adding that if a customer agrees on an amount with the girls without agreeing with her, the transaction will not work, as she will not allow the girls meet with the men in or outside as they may agree.
Some of the residents around the scene of the incident who pleaded anonymity gave different ugly accounts of what happens at the brothel/bar and what may have caused the death of the girls.
Speaking with Vanguard, one of them alleged that the proprietor locks the girls (sex workers) inside and leaves with the keys, because she does not want them to transact any private commercial sex business with any man when she is not around, or allow them to go out in the night with men when she is not the one that brokered the business, to ensure that whatever is paid to them by men that sleep with them, she gets her own share.
The source said that the proprietor harbours seven girls (sex workers) in the brothel, that the deceased three had gone for business in the day time and returned late Friday evening before their madam locked them inside and left for her home, adding that it was possible that they were cooking with gas in the place and slept off, having taken some substances that make them high and weak, before fire gutted the place burnt to death.
Another account of the incident given by the girls food vendors had it that one of the girls fought with a male customer fortnight ago, whom she stabbed with a knife, but the proprietor sealed that incident from public knowledge by offsetting the medical bill for the treatment of the man who was very angry even after treatment and vowed that the girl will not go free for stabbing him.
The source said that due to the weird behavior of some of the girls, it is also possible that somebody or some people they may have offended in the course of their commercial sex business, who knows that they sleep there and have no exit way, once their madam leaves, may have set the place ablaze in revenge for whatever wrongdoing to them.
More than 100 commercial motorcyclists visited the scene of the incident when Vanguard visited and they each had one ugly story or another of the place, the woman and the commercial sex activity that take place there.
Some even said that the proprietor of the brothel (where the sex workers allegedly died) was driven out from Mbanagu Nnewi her home town because of her notorious business activities that cuts across all manner of making money with young girls below 30-year-old before she came to her new place that got burnt killing three.
A very close friend of Police Area Command Nnewi, told Vanguard that the embattled proprietor has been receiving some kind of protection from the Police in the state, adding that it was only one Police Area Commander some years back, Mr. David Jinjwa, a Christian from Plateau State, that tried to dislodge her by arresting and taking her to court, but unfortunately, the man was promoted and transferred and the woman continued her business after his exit from the state.
Another visitor to the scene, a commercial motorcyclist who claimed to have been bringing male customers to the girls said he was not surprised that the sex workers were trapped in the inferno, saying that they were unable to escape from their rooms because the owner of the brothel always leave with the keys in the night, adding that the place no doubt have a history of harbouring call girls who used the joint for commercial sex activities.
An eyewitness who pleaded anonymity, said, “the owner of the Motel who is a woman fondly called ‘Obodo Umu Anumanu’ “the land of animals” is a native of Ndimgbu in Otolo but married in Mbanagu-Otolo. .
The eye witness also disclosed that “it was the proprietors normal routine to lock the brothel/bar and go home with the keys even if the girls were indoors and did not go out for their sex work, adding that the remains of the three girls have been deposited at Nnewi Diocesan Hospital, popularly known as Akwudo General Hospital, which is a stone throw to the brothel/bar.
While the crowd that gathered to have a look at the place vacated, a girl of about 21 years identified as the daughter of the proprietor, drove to the scene of the incident with another girl a little older than her looked around and pointed at some places, stayed about ten minutes and drove off again with her friend, and the people who look around described her as a more ruthless and fearless than her mother for having the courage to come to the scene even when anger was still in the area.