After a hard day’s job at the construction site, a young man went on a drinking spree with his friends and wanted to cap it up with amorous fun in a brothel. But he died before he could get to his Promised Land. Caleb ONWE reports
Jahi Two, a small sleepy slum within the precincts of the Katampe District, in the Federal Capital Territory was penultimate week thrown into confusion. That was following the news of the death of a young bricklayer which filtered into the air. The man had gone seeking pleasure in the arms of a sex worker at one of the brothels in the community.
The circumstance surrounding his death were so confusing that it almost resulted in a tribal conflict between his kinsmen and the owners of the brothel. The deceased, popularly known as Arsenal, was in his late 30s and hailed from Benue State. Arsenal as he was fondly called by his friends and fellow workers, regularly visited Jahi after the day’s work for recreation purposes.
On the fateful day he met his untimely death, he had wanted to pass the night with one of the sex workers at Ebe Ano Palace Joint, a popular brothel.
A rattled neighbourhood
Inside Abuja gathered that Arsenal, who worked in one of the construction sites in Abuja, had made Ebe Ano Palace Joint, his preferred pleasure destination on this fateful day. The young man, who may have had no premonition about his death, started the evening relaxing with friends and drinking himself to stupor.
Like a sailor, who just emerged from a tempestuous ocean and wanted to celebrate his miraculous escape from the storm, he headed straight to the brothel where he hoped to cool his turbo- charged libido.
Apparently, he had soaked himself in the intoxicating spirit to the extent that he forgot that it was already past midnight.
He lived in Kuchibena village, which was a far distance from where he was catching his fun.
A source said he decided to pass the night at the pleasure house for fear that it was too late and he might walk into the punitive hands of security agents at such ‘unholy hour’.
With his consciousness returning to him, he decided to look for one of the sex workers in the brothel with whom he could spend the night, regardless of the cost. He was eventually received into the warm embrace of the sex worker, who is now at large.
Some of the inmates of the brothel, who may have competed with the fleeing lady for the demised customer’s attention, are now the ones providing some clues on the circumstances surrounding Arsenal’s death.
According to them, the young man met his death when he was instructed by his one -night -stand partner to remove his booth and keep it outside before coming inside the house for the ” till-daybreak” sensual service.
When Inside Abuja inquired to know the rationale behind the instruction of the sex worker to her customer to remove his booths and keep them outside, before stepping into her room, a source familiar with the operational methods of those in the trade, disclosed that perhaps the booths of the bricklayer were smelling and the lady found the odour offensive and capable of changing the atmosphere in the love nest.
One of the sources at the brothel said that it was when the bricklayer removed his booth and decided to keep them on top of the dwarf roof of the brothel that his hands came in contact with a naked electric wire and he was electrocuted to death on the spot.
Inside Abuja gathered that the sex worker, seeing that she had gotten more than she bargained for, took to her heels and disappeared from the brothel that very night.
She was still at large as at the time of filling this report. When Inside Abuja visited the area to investigate the circumstances surrounding the seemingly unexpected death of the deceased, there were mixed reactions by people in the neighbourhood.
While some said that the death was an act of fate, others said he flagrantly disregarded a wise proclamation in the Christians’ holy book of Proverbs 7:27, which says that ” the house of a prostitute is a way to the grave”.
Some who are unrepentant adherents of traditional African religion and superstition, said he may have been bewitched by the” powers of his father’s house ” and some ancient demons that were bent on killing him at the prime of his age in a manner that will put a generational stigma on his family .
The unexpected liability
The following morning when the death became public knowledge, some youths, mostly of the Tiv extraction, who claimed to either be biologically or socially related to the dead young man, came calling for the crucifixion of the owner of the brothel.
They claimed that the owner of the brothel must account for their dead brother and friend.
The narrative that Arsenal was reportedly electrocuted was said to have been considered as a cock and bull story by the sympathisers, who were prepared to unleash terror on the owner of Ebe-Ano Palace Joint.
The owner of the brothel ( names withheld) , described as an astute Igbo businessman, tried to wriggle himself out of the unfortunate narrative, but was quite unlucky as his alibi that he had closed before the incident did not pacify the angry mob.
Similarly, his explanation that he he had warned the resident sex workers to stop admitting customers during the late hours of the night did not make any sense to relatives of the deceased and their sympathisers.
Inside Abuja learnt that the action of the people against the owner of the brothel was actually a channel to ventilate an over bottled anger against the man, who was said to have become a leader in the brothel business around the village, where there are other competitors.
A woman, who is popularly known in the area as the ” Chair Lady” following her self -acclaimed position as the matron of the sex workers, betrayed the feelings of apparent envy towards the management of the brothel, when she told Inside Abuja that it is the owner of the joint where the man died that should be held responsible.
According to her: “It is the Igbo leaders here that saved him.
Otherwise, he would have been in bigger trouble for accepting someone who has no identity to stay in his brothel”
Matron of prostitutes
Chair Lady, who also operates a bar very close to the place where the incident occurred, is also known there as the matron of the girls.
“The man came to enjoy himself and met his death. The man, who owns the place is supposed to know what happened, but the Igbo community saved him. How can the man accept someone he did know very well to his place?
The girl ran and nobody can trace her again. She just carried her bag and entered town without registering with others”, she said.
The self acclaimed matron regretted that they were not proactive in ensuring that the girl registered with them before allowing her to settle down for business.
“If it were when we were in Karu, when we use the police to arrest any “Johnny just come” (JJC), who don’t want to identify with us, the girl would not have been able to escape because we will know her up to the village where she come from,”she boasted.
It was observed that the matron, who is said to have resigned from the trade, still calls the shots in the area, and has the power and influence to determine who operates as a sex worker there.
Inside Abuja also gathered that were it not for the intervention of the Igbo community leaders who swiftly mediated to save one of their own, the angry and rampaging youths would have lynched the owner of the brothel.
It was learnt that the police was invited into the matter, but did not go deep into making an inquest into the incident due to the intervention of Igbo community in the village.
The mediators, it was learnt, did not want the matter to escalate to the extent of destroying the peaceful co-existence of the various tribes in the community.
The relatives of the young man, had demanded that an autopsy must be conducted to determine the actual cause of the death.
The owner of the brothel allegedly agreed to the proposal, but said the brothers and friends of the deceased must bear the cost. However, when they learnt that the autopsy will cost N250,000, the dancing steps changed, as such amount was beyond what anyone of them could afford.
One of the officials of the Igbo community who wants to remain anonymous confided in this correspondent that because they did not want one of their own to suffer injustice and possibly lose his business fortunes, they intervened and made peace.
According to the source, the ef fort made by the Igbo community to broker peace, resulted in the owner of the brothel reaching out to the family of the deceased, who at this point, did not want the matter to go further with the police considering the circumstances of the death.
It was learnt that the owner of the brothel had to cough out the sum of N150,000 out of the N300,000 which was the total amount needed by the Tiv community to take the corpse home for burial.
All the parties signed an undertaking at the police station that after paying the N150,000, the family members and friend should never come to harass nor disrupt his business.
While this reporter was in the village on investigative mission, it was observed that the brothel was bubbling with life, the sex workers were roving about with their prying eyes in search of their prey.
There was no visible hard feeling about the unfortunate incident. Most of the sex workers were too engrossed with their activities that no one was willing to comment on the incident, despite the probing of this reporter.
The particular room where the death allegedly occurred was sighted but was under lock and key.