The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a rather unlikely toll in Nigeria, this time on commercial sex workers who are decrying low patronage.
This comes as economic and public life grinds to a halt following various degrees of lockdown in place in most states as a means of curbing the spread of the flu-like virus.
Over the past week, schools, parks, markets, clubhouses and recreational centres have been deserted, upending life as most know it.
And now, Sex workers in Delta State have decried the situation as patronage has dropped for fear of having contact with an unsuspecting carrier of the disease.
An Assistant Manager of one of the five-star hotels on Mariam Babangida Way in Asaba, Mr Godwin Johnson, yesterday told The Punch that the disease had put his job on the line.
A club attendant on the popular DBS Road in Asaba, who identified herself simply as Vidal, said 10 out the 22 workers at their “Rock and Roll” organisation, had been placed on standby, owing to low patronage. She said:
“Since the disease hit Nigeria through Lagos State and FCT Abuja, and government emphasised restricted access at air and seaports and banned mass gathering, the offering of social amenities and playing of danceable music at clubs drastically dropped within Asaba metropolis. The aftermath is the job insecurity we have been plunged into.”
Vidal said sex workers had recorded low patronage since the outbreak of the disease as customers suddenly lost interest.
Meanwhile, a proprietor of an establishment that provides accommodation, foods and drinks on DBS Road, who pleaded anonymity, was optimistic that the disease would be a blessing in disguise.
She said, “We overcame Ebola, Monkey-pox, and Lassa fever as a nation. Coronavirus will not be an exception. The spread has seriously affected nightlife. Male customers have stayed away, female counterparts are lonely. There is low patronage now.”
For now, though, the sex workers can only deal with the cold as the pandemic takes its toll.