In Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, a middle-aged woman has been arrested for allegedly using underage girls as prostitutes in her brothel.
This incident was triggered by a viral video circulating on social media, showing a group of youth from the community raiding a particular brothel. During their intervention, they uncovered multiple underage girls, aged between 13 and 17, who were said to have being coerced into engaging in prostitution.
The revelation triggered public outrage, with many demanding the arrest of persons running the brothel.
Responding to the incident, Mrs. Ify Obinabo, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Justice, led security agents to apprehend the suspect and her husband. She assured the public that the State Government would spare no effort in bringing such individuals to justice.
According to correspondent Uche Ndeke, the suspects involved in the incident are currently in police custody.
Escaped ‘Madam’ opens new brothel
In 2019, Radio Nigeria aired a report about an incident in Nnewi where three young girls lost their lives due to a fire outbreak in a brother. The girls were locked inside a brothel by their madam, and went home for the night, resulting in the horrific outcome of the girls being burnt to death.
The suspect in this current case, whose real name is Ekpereamaka Okoronkwor but is commonly known as “Madam Padded,” was arrested in the past but mysteriously escaped, according to Radio Nigeria investigations.
She relocated to the Oba community, where she changed her business name to Ukwu Venza and allegedly continued exploiting underage girls.
Bribed the commissioner
Madam Padded is accused of attempting to bribe the Commissioner with N2m.
The commission said the ‘woman’, who called her on phone, also offered to give a monthly remittance of the “proceeds”.
Mrs Obinabo stated that she had informed the governor and other relevant stakeholders who supported her in playing along with the suspect until her capture.
The suspect, according to the commissioner paid N300,000, which was collected as evidence and handed over to the authorities. “Subsequently, the suspect consented to a personal meeting with enticing with promises.”
Accompanied by security operatives, Mrs Obinabo proceeded to the designated location where the suspect had agreed to deliver the remaining two million naira. It was during this encounter that the police arrest Madam Padded.
The commissioner issued a stern warning, especially to men, advising them against patronising establishments that coerce underage girls into prostitution.
The suspect and her husband, currently in police custody, will be promptly arraigned in court.
Efforts are also underway to locate the underage girls seen in the viral video to provide them with the necessary psychological support.
DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, stated that the investigation is ongoing to determine if there are more girls involved beyond those seen in the video.
The suspect, now identifying herself as Chioma Okeke, vehemently denied any wrongdoing. She contended that the girls featured in the video were merely customers who had visited her shop to purchase beverages prior to the arrival of the youths.
Reporting by Uche Ndeke; Editing by Chinasa Ossai, Julian Osamoto and Saadatu Albashir