They are called Gentle Men’s Clubs. But indeed, they are clubs where young ladies dance almost nude at nights for fees. Known more as strip clubs, they are quite a recent phenomenon in the Nigerian entertainment industry as 10 to 15 years ago, such outfits were far removed from the country’s reality except watched in foreign movies.
Today, strip clubs have become a constant feature in the Nigerian entertainment firmament, especially in Lagos where a considerable number of them operate to the amazement of a society that is still trying to come to terms with this recent development.
Just as these clubs began gaining grounds and making noticeable inroads into the social arena with what many would regard as bizarre performances, a kamikaze raid was in 2009, launched by the police on the new fangled clubs on Allen Avenue. Solid Gold Club was among the victims of that raid and there were several pictures of nearly naked ladies exposed in the media.
These damsels are a key ingredient of striptease whose function is indispensable in the operations of any strip club. And the police harassment did not put an end to the operations of the strip clubs either as the operators forged on, rebranding and reinventing their business in order to remain relevant or changing their tactics of trade.
The Wall Street Pub in Ikeja went ahead to portray itself as a corporate citizen doing business in that light, with its certificate of incorporation hanging on the wall. At this point, the Lagos residents who were only used to seeing striptease in foreign movies were unknowingly having strip clubs right in their domain. The age of innocence had gone forever.
What has become agitating in the minds of many Nigerians is: What makes these strip clubs tick? How do they get the strippers who oil the engine of their operation? And how does the component operatives get well remunerated in the entire play that does not look as tidy as puritans and moralists see the whole affair.
By Uzo Chikere