The Nigerian Sex Workers Association (NSWA) has condemned Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, directive to ban sex workers and nightclubs from operating in some parts of the state.
During his New Year broadcast in Port Harcourt on Saturday, Governor Wike banned nightclub activities including nighttime trading and street prostitution especially along Abacha road and surrounding streets, particularly in the Casablanca area. According to the governor, the move will “stop the harmful effects of these depraved activities on the moral development of the children and society at large.”
The governor further directed security agencies in the state to arrest and prosecute anyone attempting to violate the ban. He said a taskforce would be set up to this effect.
Reacting to the governor’s order, the National President of the Sex Workers Association, Ms Amaka Enemo, in an interview with SaharaReporters, said there were socio-economic problems such as insecurity and unemployment confronting Nigeria and Rivers that Wike should face, and sex work was not among them.
“One thing I know is that sex works cannot be threatened. It is ridiculous that someone can just wake up and attack sex work. Of course, other means are there (for sex workers without physical location). There is the internet if the governor says they should not operate in a location.
But I think it’s a misplaced priority when other things are there for him (Wike) to address. I don’t know why a ban on sex works is his problem. There are many problems confronting Nigeria, insecurity is there, unemployment. Many people are being kidnapped.” Ememo said
She further challenged Governor Wike to point at any job creation that he could boast of as alternatives to sex works, adding that it was a means of livelihood to some people and could not be threatened.
“Talking about sex work, what have you done as alternative jobs before you talk about banning of sex work? Has he created business opportunities, job creation or any related programme to empower them? That’s where people earn their living so he should just stop the threats or what is the alternative we should expect from the governor?
About alternatives, if it’s okay for some sex workers they can leave their jobs. Sex work is just like every other work, so if some sex workers want to opt out for other job opportunities, fine. It’s their decision.
Some sex workers have taken this as their main source of income because it pays them well and there is nothing government can do about it. So why will the governor want to take away their means of livelihood? They should allow the sex workers take decision for themselves.”