The word boku in transliteration means a lot of something; it originated from a misspelling and pronunciation of the French word beaucup, meaning many. To residents of the Federal Capital Territory, the mere mention of the word boku invokes a memory of a red light district in Kubwa, which is one of the major suburban districts in Abuja. It is mainly a residential area and densely populated.
In the heart of Kubwa district lays a carved out red light zone popularly referred to as Woman Boku. Woman Boku in description would compete favourably with the Soho London red light district, as the area is inhabited by commercial sex workers, pimps, drug dealers, bars, and distinct night crawlers.
Pa Edu who has lived in Woman Boku for over two decades, narrating his part of the story with reference to the area said “ my brother, for years that I have been living here, that is the name of the area; there used to be many prostitutes here.”
He further said, “in fact before now, when you came to Woman Boku you would know that this is Woman Boku, because you will see different kinds of women scattered everywhere here in Woman Boku, with some walking naked.”
Friday Magazine checks revealed that, Woman Boku in its hey days was a den of forms of immorality. It was also gathered that the area played an unenviable host to commercial sex workers, who disobey morality in carrying out their illicit trade, prompting parents who pay attention to moral values to relocate from the area.
Tijjani Usman is a petty trader, with deep knowledge on the history and the goings on in the area. Speaking with this reporter, he said, “It is Woman Boku that, I see a young man refusing to work for his daily bread and will rely on a woman for his clothing, feeding and accommodation.”
The area also plays host to drug peddlers, as the Woman Boku congregation boasts of those whose trip to the area is solely to satisfy their lust for hard drugs, ranging from cannabis sativa, fondly referred to as Indian hemp, to heroine, and high consumption of other dangerous and hard drugs.
Gbenga Moses, a retired footballer who resides in the area told Friday Magazine that he has been a resident of the area since 1999. According to him, in the past, the area was a choice destination for all calibers of persons who visited the area to patronise the commercial sex workers, coupled with those on a visit to satisfy their drug urge and tourists on sightseeing visit.
“The ladies were very many as immediately you were approaching the street you were going to be surprised with what you were going to see. Here, the prostitutes line up the streets; you must see boys fighting because prostitutes, girlfriends, and housewives are found here coming to ambush their ‘husbands’.”
The Woman Boku red light district was encircled within pub houses, restaurants and bars, adjourned by residential houses, in an area that also bubbles with commercial activities.
Woman Boku won its popularity owing to the activities that unfolds in the area, earning it the status as one of Abuja’s most renowned red light districts. A well advertised zone, where diverse criminal activities wereperpetuated in total and outright violation of the laws.
Today, a visit to Woman Boku would leave the visitor in amazement, as the area has shed itself of the old toga and has worn a new toga in the opposite to the expectations arising from the prospect that are ordinarily attributed to the name Woman Boku.
The area though still retains its status as a red light district, with pubs harbouring commercial sex workers, though the number is a foul cry from the description attached to the nomenclature, the ladies are decently dressed and are holed up in the pubs.
The male folks have taken over the one time slur -Woman Boku – prompting the verbal baptism of the area from Woman Boku to Man Boku by jokers, as practically eight out of ten persons on the street of Woman Boku are male.
Checks reveal that, the pubs installed large television screens within their business premises and extend same to their verandas by the road side, from where they beam live football matches. This singular reason accounts for the large number of men who now crowd the area at night.
Commercial motorcyclists in their large numbers park their motorcycles in front of the pub houses to watch football matches on the screen and some other times; they park by to watch Nigerian movies beamed from the TV screens mounted outside the pub houses.
Our investigations further revealed that, most young men milling around the area are reliant on the commercial sex workers as their source of livelihood, milking the ladies who mostly rely on them for security services.
Friday Magazine checks unveiled that, another reason for the huge presence of men could also be attributed to the fact that the business that mush room around the area are owned and operated by the male sex, as ladies turn back offer to be engaged as sales girls or night bar attendants in the area, in avoidance of the stigma.
A bar owner in the area, who identifies himself simply as Don said “no lady will agree to work here in the night, because of the way the area is and what this place is known for and that is why you see that all the hotels and beer parlours have men as their attendants.”
This reporter observed that, the pubs weren’t bubbling with the presence of paid sex service providers, the bars, and pubs were predominantly dominated by males, who are either cooling off from the day’s hard work with bottles of beer or beverages.
A commercial bus driver, who does not want his name on print while speaking to this reporter on the change of nomenclature from Woman Boku to Man Boku said, “I think you are right, if you say the name is now Man Boku,(laughs) because if you remember how women used to fill this place and today they have disappeared.”
He further said, “I may say that you are right again because, instead of women who used to fill Woman Boku, it is now men, watching football inside the hotels and outside; people doing businesses in their shops are all men. Yes, this place is now Man Boku and not Woman Boku.”

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