• Operators turn a blind eye as randy men camp underage girls in hotels

    Operators turn a blind eye as randy men camp underage girls in hotels - nigeria newspapers online
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    Operators turn a blind eye as randy men camp underage girls in hotels

    •Anambra hotel where children are used for sex work Photo: Anambra Police Command

    GODFREY GEORGE writes on how underage girls are lodged in hotels by men for illicit acts while hotel administrators look the other way

    Shock was the reaction that greeted a now-viral video of a young boy who captured himself half-naked in a hotel in Lagos State with a girl his age.

    Both kids were jumping on the bed at one point in the video, which has now been circulated widely on social media.

    After the jumping, they both stood in front of the mirror in a sexually suggestive fashion and gave off romantic looks. Before the 26-second video came to an end, both teenagers locked lips and gave a wide grin on camera.

    This outraged Nigerians who wondered how they got access to that level of privacy in a hotel facility in the country that is supposed to be reserved for adults. The age of adulthood in Nigeria is 18 and the kids in the video were barely teenagers.

    In 2023, a similar video was circulated. This time, there were three young boys and a young girl who were almost unclad dancing to a popular Nigerian tune on camera.

    They looked intoxicated, as all four of them were seen smoking from one stick of what looked like marijuana or cigarette. One of the boys held a red cup and sipped the content slowly, giving wild laughter after every sip.

    The girl was seen beckoning on another person who was not visible in the video to come and help her, as, according to her, the boys were ‘killing her’.

    “These boys are so bad. They want to kill me o,” she said and fell on the bed, laughing as she did.

    The incident, our correspondent gathered, happened in a local hotel in Sagamu, Ogun State.

    Residents of the area who spoke to our correspondent confirmed that it was a regular sight to see young people use the hotel for their parties.

    A chief in the area, Mr Tunji Adekola, said he was the one who reported the hotel to the police in the area for playing loud music and disturbing the peace in the area, not knowing that something sinister went on behind the shadows.

    He said, “It was after my report, that several people came forward to say some men in the area took some underage girls to the hotel where they perform their illicit acts. Girls not up to 16 are always seen in the area, skimpily dressed.”

    Another resident, Mrs Chinasa Ochiko, said the place is nicknamed ‘Ibongi Bar’ because there were no restrictions to the illicit acts that go on there.

    “Children of 15 years old and even below are seen in the area even at night. Although the place has been shut down by the authorities, other hotels in the area still allow young girls to lodge there with men old enough to be their fathers,” she said.

    ‘What did I do wrong?’

    Another young girl, in 2024, was recorded in another viral video on TikTok in Eleme, Rivers State, coming out of a hotel room in a popular hotel in the area half-dressed. The hotel said to be owned by a politician, runs a nightclub, a strip bar and what they termed “ladies’ night”.

    In the video, the young girl was asking, “What did I do wrong?” from the persons who questioned her for lodging in a hotel without her parents.

    A voice from the background asked, “What are you doing here? Where are your parents? Don’t you have a home? See as you dey! A young girl like you! Spoiling yourself and your family name. If you don’t leave here now, we will call the police to take you and whoever you came here with.”

    Another person in the background enquired about her room number and threatened to go drag the man she came with before the video came to an abrupt end.

    Sources in the area said she went to the hotel to celebrate her 16th birthday the previous day and she lodged there with her boyfriend for the night to ‘seal the celebration’.

    A resident in the area who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said parts of the hotel were uncompleted and lodgers may be required to come down and fetch water.

    “It was when the girl came down to fetch water that she was captured. Some men who were there to drink accosted her and asked her how old she was and what she was doing in the hotel. They then realised she came there to celebrate her 16th birthday with her boyfriend who is 26 years old.

    “Both of them were chased out of the hotel and the receptionist that booked them was sanctioned,” the source said.

    Although the hotel owner denied the video was made in his hotel, several lodgers on social media confirmed that the hotel was notorious for its anyhowness.

    “You will find children walking around the pool in pairs. I am talking of children who should be in secondary school. Some of them will wear swim trunks and their partners will accompany them. Whenever I see them there and I am with my partner, I go there and chase them out myself,” a lady on Facebook, Tumbari Leebam, wrote in a comment section.

    Another Facebook user said the hotel was notorious in the area as a regular spot to get ‘fresh meat’ (underage girls).

    “It is irritating but true that these fresh meat lurk around the hotel (name withheld) to look for men who pick them, use the rooms there for as many days as they like and the management turns a blind eye,” wrote Tuonimi Barida.

    Another day, another video

    A few months after the Rivers State incident, another video surfaced on social media. It was that of a young boy and a girl in a hotel room.

    It stirred outrage on social media, causing many to bash hotel owners who allow these young people to use their facilities for these illicit acts.

    The clip showed the minors alone in a hotel room, drinking and making romance.

    The girl, who wore a crop top on blank pants, was filming herself in front of a mirror while her male partner showed off his meal.

    As she got close to him, he swiftly dropped his food, got close to her and appeared to kiss her on the lips.

    The 17-second clip was shared on Twitter by @_favorite_ada, who wondered where the parents of the kids were.

    The video has caused a huge stir on the Internet, with many condemning the underage children for lodging in a hotel together.

    Some others criticised the hotel management for allowing them to stay in their facility, while others blamed their parents for failing to instil good values in them.

    An X user, Lola Okunrin, expressed disgust over the hotel clip and emphasised the importance of community parenting.

    He said, “This is why I will forever love community parenting. Let’s say the parents of these two failed, what about the staff of the hotel? The moment they entered and asked for a key, an adult is holding their ears and twisting it while giving them brain resetting knock. A ti miss (sic).”

    Another user, tweeting as @mr_time_smile, wrote, “There should be a law that says we must show our National ID before we can access some places in Nigeria. There must be verification of age in hotel facilities.”

    @blessmich85, another user, wrote, “Community parenting helped reset my brain the day I followed gang enter canoe to another community because of inter-house sports. Before I got home, my ear and face collected slaps (sic).

    “I can never forget the Part II beating my mother gave me. (sic)”

    Man stops 15-year-old boy from lodging with teenage girls

    Another video which trending in 2023 showed a man confronting a 15-year-old boy who attempted to book a hotel room with two teenage girls.

    The man was seen in the video grilling the child who refused to speak up.

    When the girls who had come with the boy saw that their objective had been disrupted, they walked away fast, ignoring requests from the man who demanded to know what they were planning to do in the hotel room.

    The menace

    The increasing trend of minors lodging in hotels unsupervised and engaging in illicit activities is becoming a significant concern in Nigeria.

    Despite stringent legal frameworks and industry codes of conduct, some hoteliers neglect their responsibilities, facilitating an environment where minors can easily access rooms and partake in activities that jeopardize their safety and well-being. This issue not only threatens the minors involved but also tarnishes the reputation of Nigeria’s hospitality industry.

    The Federal Government also warned hoteliers across the country not to harbour teenagers and underage girls in their facilities or risk being sanctioned.

    The Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, read the riot acts on Saturday at the ‘Unlock Training and Grants’ ceremony in Abuja.

    The programme, which saw 200 young entrepreneurs receive N100m, was organised by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education, Abiola Arogundade.

    In January 2023, some students of Federal Government College in Ijanikin, Lagos, were caught absconding from school to lodge female classmates in hotels for sexual romp.

    PUNCH Metro gathered that the students, all boarders, were said to have on different occasions scaled the school’s fence with their female counterparts and stayed out of school for days.

    Findings revealed that the students involved in the act were between the ages of 14 and 17.

    Similarly, in April 2022, a video clip of a 15-year-old boy who was accosted while trying to lodge two girls and another guy in a hotel room went viral on social media.

    The teenage schoolgirls, however, took to their heels when the voice behind the camera attempted to probe them on their mission.

    But Kennedy-Ohanenye vowed that it would no longer be business as usual.

    To further depict the seriousness of the Federal Government, the minister disclosed that hoteliers, especially in the Federal Capital Territory, have been directed to mount a signpost outside their hotels warning prospective clients to lodge any underage girls in their premises.

    She said, “Nigeria must be better. From 20th (June), we have directed hotels to put a sign outside from the Ministry of Women. No lodging of underage girls. (Otherwise) what happened in Niger State will be an understatement of what will happen in the FCT and I mean it.

    “No more lodging of underage girls and no more bullying in schools.”

    Continuing, the minister announced to journalists that the FG has commenced a probe into the distasteful viral clip of 10 Nigerian teenagers who were rescued from neighbòuring Ghana where they were trafficked for prostitution.

    Legal framework, ethical obligations

    The Child Rights Act of 2003 explicitly defines a child as a person under the age of 18 and mandates their protection from exploitation, abuse, and neglect.

    Section 11 of the Act states that every child has the right to protection from all forms of exploitation, which extends to their unsupervised lodging in hotels.

    Furthermore, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation enforces regulations that hotels must adhere to, ensuring the safety and well-being of all guests, including minors.

    The NTDC Code of Conduct requires hotel operators to verify the age of their guests and prohibits lodging minors without appropriate supervision. However, many hotels fail to comply with these guidelines, resulting in minors gaining unsupervised access to hotel rooms.

    The presence of unsupervised minors in hotels exposes them to various dangers, including sexual exploitation, drug abuse, and criminal activities. Several high-profile cases have highlighted the severity of this issue.

    A group of teenagers, in December 2022, was caught in a hotel in Lagos, engaging in a late-night party involving alcohol and drugs. The hotel staff failed to verify the ages of the guests, leading to this incident. The case emphasized the need for stricter age verification processes.

    In February 2023, a 16-year-old girl was found using a hotel room for prostitution. The hotel management claimed ignorance of her age. This incident sparked outrage and calls for better enforcement of regulations concerning the accommodation of minors in hotels.

    A hotel in Enugu was, in March 2023, implicated when underage boys used the facility to plan and execute a robbery. The lack of proper guest verification allowed the minors to use the hotel as a base for their criminal activities.

    In June 2023, a hotel in Delta was found to be a hotspot for underage prostitution. Multiple minors were rescued in a police raid, revealing the hotel’s complicity in allowing minors to use their rooms for sex work.

    In August 2023, authorities in Edo State uncovered a network of hotels that facilitated the use of rooms by minors for drug-related activities.

    The hotels failed to verify the ages of their guests, leading to a surge in illicit activities involving minors.

    A hotel in Ogun State around October 2023 was shut down after it was discovered that minors were using the premises to conduct illicit activities.

    The hotel’s management was found to be complicit in allowing these activities to take place without any form of supervision or verification.

    A child rights advocate, Mercy Chepaka, commenting on the matter stated that the rising trend of minors engaging in illicit activities in Nigerian hotels was a serious issue that requires immediate attention.

    She said, “Hoteliers must uphold their ethical and legal obligations to protect minors and ensure their facilities are not used for unlawful purposes.

    “By adopting stringent age verification processes, training staff, and collaborating with law enforcement, Nigeria’s hospitality industry can create a safer environment for all guests. The implementation of these measures, along with robust enforcement, will go a long way in curbing this menace and restoring the integrity of the industry.

    “Furthermore, the government and regulatory bodies must play a proactive role in ensuring compliance with existing laws and regulations. Regular inspections, severe penalties for non-compliance, and public awareness campaigns are essential components of a comprehensive strategy to address this issue. Only through a concerted effort can Nigeria safeguard its children and uphold the standards of its hospitality industry.”

      Ogun hotel suspects Photo: Ogun Police Command



    In August 2023, the Gender Unit of the Nigerian Police Force Criminal Investigation Department, Federal Capital Territory raided Ignobis Hotels, Gado Nasco Road in Kubwa, Abuja, for alleged abuse, and endangerment of minors.

    The raid was led by Inspector Ossai Ojobo, an Investigation Police Officer, along with officials of the Social Development Secretarial, FCT Administration and representatives of a non-governmental organisation.

    After the raid, the Hotel Manager, Mr Akbueze Chidi, and a restaurant operator in the hotel, Ms Priscilla Abuyah, were arrested and taken to the Force CID for questioning and further investigation.

    The raid followed a petition by the Human Rights Agenda Network, an NGO, to the Social Welfare Department of the SDS, alleging that the hotel was harbouring minors and exposing them to sexual exploitation.

    The SDS Officer in charge of the case, Mrs Joy Omokivie, told the News Agency of Nigeria, that the SDS channelled the petition to the Gender Unit of the Force CID to investigate the matter.

    Omokivie added that the hotel was classified as a brothel by residents, where young girls, including underaged girls, were being brought in for sex.

    She said that in the petition, HRAN had alleged that a 12-year-old minor and her younger brother, age four, were staying at the hotel with a woman, purported to be their mother.

    She added that after some investigations, the 12-year-old girl was rescued and is currently in the custody of the Social Welfare Department, “while the young boy is still with the mother.”

    According to her, the raid was part of an ongoing investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations and if found to be true, rescue the minors and prosecute the culprits.

    HRAN had in the petition accused the woman, Mrs Immanuela Austyn-Araki, a Bolt driver of abandoning the children in the hotel in the morning, leaving them to fend for themselves.

    The NGO claimed that the children eat mostly snacks and noodles until they return late at night or the following morning.

    HRAN added that its investigation revealed that the woman lodged in the hotel with the children for more than two years, exposing them to all kinds of sexual conduct by other adults lodging in the hotel.

    The group said that the girl was allowed access to the internet and accessing sites not suitable for underaged children, adding that the girl had an account on TikTok where she uploads adult-related content.

    According to the group, men, including the hotel owner, pay regular visits to the room occupied by the minors and their mother, whenever the mother is not around.

    HRAN also expressed suspicion that the woman may be involved in child trafficking, alleging that there were underage girls in the hotel premises working as commercial sex workers.

    The NGO, thereafter, asked the police to investigate the matter to save the endangered child and bring the culprits to book.

    However, after reading the petition at the Force CID, the manager of the hotel and the restaurant operator declined to make any response except in the presence of their lawyer.

    Meanwhile, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Hotel, Mr Eze Obasi, refuted the allegation, saying, “I am a good Christian and a traditional title holder in my community.

    “As such, I cannot be a party to sexual exploitation, abuse, or endangerment of underage girls in my hotel.

    “All I know is that the woman in question was being maltreated by her husband and she came to the hotel with her children to seek refuge from her abusive husband.

    “This complaint has been brought before me by four different groups and it has been settled.

    “I do not understand why police officers will still come to the hotel to embarrass my clients in the name of police search for minors,” he said.

    After the raid that ended around 8:30 p.m., the young minor and the mother were not found at the hotel.

    Gomorrah extension in Anambra hotel

    On June 13, the Anambra State Police Command uncovered a hotel named Gally Gally in Nkpor, allegedly involved in the exploitation of children aged 14 to 17 for sex slavery, prostitution, and operating as a baby factory.

    DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, the spokesperson for the state police command, detailed in a statement that the operatives rescued 35 girls, with four of them discovered to be pregnant.

    “The police have arrested three individuals connected to this operation: Mrs Ifeoma Uzo, aged 35, Chidiebere Alaka, aged 28, and Nweke Chidiebere. Alongside these arrests, the police seized three pump-action guns, seven cartridges, and a cash sum of eight hundred and seventy-seven thousand, five hundred naira (N877, 500),” the spokesperson said.

    Tochukwu noted that the suspects are currently undergoing interrogation to gather more information about their involvement and to identify additional members of the gang. He further stated that the rescued victims will be handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons for their welfare and rehabilitation.

    The statement concluded with Tochukwu affirming that all suspects will face charges in court once the investigation is complete.

    Ogun case

    On October 23, 2019, law enforcement uncovered a grim operation in Shimawa, a community on the Lagos-Ogun border, where a hotel was using underage girls for commercial sex work.

    Detectives from the Federal Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Alagbon, Ikoyi, conducted the raid, arresting two men and rescuing 14 girls aged between 14 and 17.

    Acting on intelligence reports about a suspected baby factory in Shimawa, the anti-trafficking team, led by Assistant Inspector General of Police, Usman Mani, moved quickly to the scene. Deputy Superintendent of Police, Cordelia Nwawe, provided details of the operation, which lasted from Tuesday night until 10 a.m. the following day.

    “We needed to locate that particular baby factory where underage females are kept,” Nwawe explained.

    The investigation revealed that the girls, hailing from Akwa Ibom, Kogi, Enugu, and Imo states, had been lured to the facility under pretences.

    Trapped in a cycle of exploitation, they were forced to pay their boss N1,000 daily for accommodation while being coerced into sleeping with a minimum of four men daily, charging between N500 and N1,000 per client.

    Disturbingly, the men in the establishment also subjected the girls to sexual exploitation at their will.

    Several individuals were arrested during the raid, including the hotel owner, Gbenga Olayinka, his nephew, Adekunle Oshineye, and three adult sex workers—Happiness Daniel, Favour Nkume, and Glory Ewelike.

    The nine underage girls gave their names as Chisom Onyekwere, Chinonso Okoro, Stella Emmanuel, Gift Wada, Chidinma Emmanuel, Tracy Favour, Success Onu, Comfort Francis, Njoku Divine, Destiny Chibuike, and Amanda Chima.

    Olayinka denied knowing that some of the girls were underage, claiming they had independently rented the rooms.

    “I charge the girls N1,000 daily. I do not control them on their customers, and I do not keep their money for them. Police have been coming there to search, but they have never found anything incriminating,” he said.

    “My offence is that I kept these girls in my care to use them to work, and I am sorry about that. I know it is wrong. I am married with four kids, two girls, and two boys.”

    Oshineye, who was arrested in the room of one of the girls he claimed was his lover, stated that he only helped his uncle at the brothel when he wasn’t busy with his building work.

    The narratives of the rescued girls were harrowing.

    One girl shared, “My boyfriend and I planned that I would stop prostitution by December because that is when I would complete my apprenticeship. I sleep with four or five men every day. It was my friend who brought me from the village. I do not enjoy it, but I do not have another option.”

    Another girl, Okoro, confessed that her mother was unaware of her true occupation.

    “I told my mum I was working, but I did not tell her the job I was doing. I have been able to send only N7,000 to her since I started this work. I use protection each time to avoid getting infection,” she said.

    International best practices

    Countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada enforce strict regulations on hotel operations to prevent such issues.

    For instance, in the United States, the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act mandates that hotels maintain a registry of guests and verify the age of anyone booking a room. Similarly, the United Kingdom’s Hotel Proprietors Act imposes a duty of care on hotel owners to ensure the safety of all guests, including minors.

    A hospitality expert based in Rivers State, Patience Hart, said Nigeria can adopt several measures to curb the menace of minors lodging unsupervised in hotels.

    Hart who runs a hotel in the Port Harcourt area of the state said implementing mandatory age verification for all guests, ensuring that minors are not accommodated without adult supervision must be prioritised.

    She said, “Train hotel staff to identify and report suspicious activities involving minors.

    “Establish partnerships between hotels and law enforcement agencies to monitor and address any incidents involving minors. Educate parents and guardians about the dangers of allowing minors to lodge in hotels unsupervised through government and NGO-led campaigns.

    “Technological tools should be utilized. The use of surveillance cameras, guest verification software, and biometric systems to monitor and control access to hotel premises should be encouraged.”

    The administrator also said hotels must allocate specific areas within hotels for minors, providing supervised environments for their activities.

    She added, “The unchecked presence of minors in hotels poses severe risks to their safety and well-being and undermines the credibility of the hospitality industry. The economic impact includes a potential decline in tourism and loss of trust among patrons, leading to reduced revenue and job losses.”

    The law

    Lodging underage girls in hotel rooms is a serious legal issue in Nigeria, governed by several statutes aimed at protecting children from exploitation and abuse.

    For instance, the Child Rights Act, adopted in 2003, is the primary legislation protecting the rights of children in Nigeria. It defines a child as anyone under the age of 18 and outlines their rights and protections.

    Section 11 of the Act proves that every child is entitled to protection from all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation.

    Section 15 of the Act prohibits the abduction, removal, or transfer of a child unlawfully or without lawful authority.

    Also, Section 16 protects child labour, which includes prohibiting children from being used in exploitative and hazardous environments, including hotels for illicit activities.

    Also, the Criminal Code Act, applicable in Southern Nigeria, includes provisions against sexual exploitation and abuse of minors.

    Section 218 clearly states that it is a felony to have unlawful carnal knowledge of an underage girl.

    Section 22 outlines the offence of abduction of a girl under the age of 16 with intent to have unlawful carnal knowledge.

    Meanwhile, the Penal Code Act applies to Northern Nigeria and contains similar provisions to the Criminal Code regarding the protection of minors.

    Section 276 specifically criminalizes the abduction of females for illicit purposes.

    Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation regulations

    The NTDC is responsible for regulating the hospitality industry, and ensuring hotels comply with safety and ethical standards.

    Under its key regulation, the NTDC stated that hotels must verify the age of guests and ensure minors are not lodged without appropriate adult supervision.

    Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties, including fines and revocation of operating licenses.

    A legal practitioner, Selena Onuoha, said the provisions of the law are clear on exploiting minors for any form of sexual gratification.

    She, however, lamented that despite these robust legal frameworks, enforcement remains a challenge due to corruption, lack of awareness, and inadequate training of law enforcement officers.

    “The hospitality industry must be vigilant and proactive in adhering to these laws to protect minors from exploitation.

    “Protecting minors from exploitation in hotels is not just a legal obligation but a moral one. Ensuring that hotel operators adhere to laws and regulations will help safeguard children and maintain the integrity of Nigeria’s hospitality industry,” she added.


    Ban laudable – Hotel owners

    A legal practitioner and President, Hotel Owners Forum, Abuja, Mrs Funmi Kazeem, speaking to our correspondent on Friday, hailed FG’s ban on underage lodgers in hotels.

    She commended the Federal Government and the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, for taking a bold step towards safeguarding the well-being of our girl child and the vulnerable citizens.

    She said, “The ban on lodging of underage girls in hotels is a laudable initiative that aligns with our industry’s values and commitment to ethical practices.

     “As hoteliers, we recognize the importance of providing a safe and secure environment for all our guests and we are eager to cooperate with the government and the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development to ensure the successful implementation of this policy.

     “By preventing the lodging of underage girls in hotels, we are not only curbing the scourge of prostitution but also protecting these vulnerable individuals from potential exploitation and harm.”

     She added that the initiative was a clear testament to the Minister and government’s dedication to creating a sane and responsible society, and we are proud to be part of it.

     She further urged the minister and government to consider the challenges facing the hotel industry, particularly in the current economic landscape.

    She said, “The hoteliers are struggling with high operating costs which include exorbitant fuel and diesel prices, the high electricity tariff and multiple taxation.

     “While we are ready to join the Hon. Minister and government to implement this new policy on underage lodging, we implore the government to provide support to this great industry by way of grants, tax exemptions, and waivers to enable us to continue to provide quality services that will contribute to the nation’s economic growth.”

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