The noisome ambience reeked of marijuana and cigarettes as our correspondent walked down Ipodo Street on Tuesday evening. Sitting on the outskirts of Allen, Ikeja, Lagos, the busy street is one of the few places with a semblance of bustling life characteristic of Nigeria’s economic capital since the state went into lockdown about three weeks ago.
Dotted with all kinds of small shops and few residential buildings, Ipodo Street is a melting pot for kerb-crawlers, miscreants and commercial sex workers once night falls.
As of 8pm that day, nothing significant has changed in the crowded hood despite appeals for social distancing to slow down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Hi, Hello,” three ladies walked up to our correspondent while sauntering around a storey building in the middle of the street.
“Let’s go to my room,” one of them in her early 20s, Blessing (not real name), muttered as she led our correspondent to a small, dingy room on the first floor of the brothel housing an expansive bar on the ground floor.
“I don’t lick am o,” she remarked leisurely while approaching the room.
“They say COVID-19 is everywhere but e no fit catch me by God’s grace,” she added dismissively, agreeing to treat our correspondent to a blowjob when he insisted.
“COVID-19 never reach Nigeria,” Blessing declared as she asked our reporter to sit on her medium-sized bed littered with clothes. “How many people have you seen contracting it in Nigeria?” she queried when told the virus had infected hundreds of people and killed about a dozen in the country.
Blessing strongly believes coronavirus is a ruse and a conduit for diverting public funds. “I hear e don dey many states. Na lie. Na money dem (government) they pack. They go steal tire. They go chop the money forever.
“If coronavirus dey, we wey dey here, why we never contact am. The thing no dey anywhere for Nigeria,” she said.