Welcome to Gomorrah, the sin city of Nigeria, where beer and women are prized more than food.


It was 6pm. The sun, shining red in the mist of cold harmattan haze, was going down on the plateau of Rainbow Roundabout, the entrance of Tunfure, a suburb of Gombe town located about five kilometres from the Gombe State capital.

Rainbow Roundabout is a landmark at the entrance of Tunfure, a growing city inside Gombe, largely dominated by indigenous Tangale, Waja, Lunguda, Shongom, Chamawa, Yoruba, Tiv, Tera, Igbo, Fulani, Kanuri and other tribes, reports The Nation.

Life in Tunfure is a huge contrast with life in the inner city of Gombe beginning from Jekadafari, where businesses close at 6 pm and would not reopen until about 10am the following day. Tunfure, on the other hand, is alive for 24 hours of the day with bustling business activities at hotels, clubs and beer parlours scattered all over the community, making it an attraction for first time visitors and tourists.

“Even if a visitor lodges in a hotel inside town, they would still find their way to Tunfure to unwind after the day’s work,” said Loruba, a Lunguda artisan and resident of Tunfure.

Until about 10 years ago, Tunfure was a plane farmland in Gombe with few houses built by settlers. But the coming of Labour and Investment Quarters, two estates dominated by the working class people of Gombe, opened up the area for a sizeable number of young married couples in search of affordable homes to start their families and nouveau rich men and middle class people who invested in real estate business to earn extra income in the largely agrarian community of Gombe.

“Later, with the establishment of higher institutions like Gombe State University, Federal College of Education and Federal University, Kashere, Tunfure became the choice area for lecturers, students as well as visitors to Gombe,” said Chinedu, a restaurant owner at Tunfure.

Nightlife in Tunfure starts from 8 pm and runs till about 6 am at beer parlours, clubs and hotels located at various cool spots all over the area with women and men in their hundreds hanging around.

“In Tunfure, women and beer are of more value than food, because no matter how high the cost of beer, they will never haggle on it. But if it is food, they would say remove the meat and give me only rice and wanke (beans),” said Chinedu.

But for Tabitha, a roasted fish seller, Tunfure is where she earns her living and therefore cannot be compared with other areas in Gombe.

She said: “As a single mother, this is what I do to earn a living and raise my two children.

“I sell roasted fish to customers, and to do that, I have to be here by 6pm with roasting fish before customers start arriving at 8 pm.

“I normally close around 2am to have some sleep before I go to market in the morning for fresh fish and then wait till evening to start roasting them.”

By 9pm on Thursday, the various cool spots in Tunfure were already filled up with all available chairs occupied by men carousing women with bottles of beer on the table.

The DJ dished out some old school music of Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Michael Jackson, Kool and the Gang and modern Afro beats of Kizz Daniel, Davido, Mohbad and others.

Some of them took to the floor as men and women walk in and out of the small lodge inside the resort. Of course, plates of pepper soup are regular companions of the beers on the table.

On Thursday, Nigeria’s victory against South Africa at the ongoing African Cup of Nation (AFCON) was the topic on most tables.

Parked outside were various brands of exotic cars. As the night grew darker more and more girls walked in to take their seat beside men. The signal here is highly coded and does not allow for dogo turenchi. Some bottles of beer usually settle the deal between a lady and her client.

Tunfure’s nightlife has a semblance of Ojuelegba in Lagos or Mokola in Ibadan. Friday and Saturday are prime days with ladies in their bikini around the swimming pool and the premises smoking cigarettes and Shisa with reckless abandon. Every corner is occupied with young men and ladies who are busy with one another.

“The economic hardship is not helping matters,” said Loruba.

“Most of the ladies you see here are actually not really expensive. Some of them are married or single mothers looking for just N2000 or N3000 for upkeep.

“So after some bottles of beer with her, if you can part with that amount, you are good to go,” he added.

He however emphasised that if a client runs into a more expensive lady, he may likely not find the night comfortable for himself.

Vivian, a mother of two in her twenties, is a Tiv woman from Benue State. She lives in a brothel inside Gombe where she pays N3,000 per day.

“If I have to pay N3,000 per day, it means that the least I can take from a client is N5,000, and that is if it is in my apartment. Outside, of course it will be higher and you will take the bill for the lodging.”

Inside her room was a small iron bed that could barely take two people, and on top of the small stool beside the bed are condoms which she said were for safety.

“With that, I’m covered. I trained my three children with the runs,” she added.

For Vivian, “life can be very boring inside Gombe except a client comes to pay you a visit. But at weekends, I come to Tunfure for adventure, and what I make during the weekend here takes care of the dull weekdays.”

Another young lady, who identified herself as Varsity, is a student of Federal University, Kashere. “But I come to Tunfure every weekend to raise some money for upkeep.

“You know it is not everything you ask from your parents, especially in this harsh economy. My own is if you have a client, you can give me a call. I know you journalists are amebo (laughs). So while you are doing your amebo, you can have needs too.”

With her ebony black skin and average height, Varsity is a beauty to behold. She is in the class of classy city girls of Kano or Yola except for her dressing that reveals a large chunk of her average size boobs.

“I prefer going out with older men,” she said, “because they know how to take care of you better than all these young boys.

“But when I am ready for marriage, I will go for my age mate-o”, she said flashing her white set of teeth beneath her big sexy eyeballs.

Vivian, though a mother of three, is equally a black beauty. Her youthful look and flat belly belie her motherly experience. She is calm and speaks better English than other ladies who are mostly baa turenchi (no English).

She said: “I am a graduate. Of course, a lot of people do not know that this is what I do for a living, but they know I work in Gombe with NGO. I mean my NGO-o (general laughter)”.

The group of four girls on the table made the night lively for the lecturers friends and their visitors from Abuja and Lagos.

Esther on the other hand, is a student from Gombe State University who lives in Tunfure.

“You know on the campus there is a common saying that every girl in the hostel has an “Uncle” in Tunfure taking care of her. This is because life here is very tough, especially for female students who are not working.

“It is expensive living on campus, using kerosene to cook because the university’s authorities banned the use of gas on campus.”

Esther’s toned brown skin has dark spots on her fingers and ankles, but her carefully painted facial make-ups and brown wigs make her the focus of attraction throughout the night. She is a lover of soccer and a good fan of Nigeria football.

She said: “Oga journalist, you know I already lost my appetite yesterday when we were watching that match.

“My beer and pepper soup, I left them cold on the table when the match ran into extra time.

“But after we won the match, I swallowed them as if they were still fresh.”

Her passion for soccer made her to wear Nigeria’s national team’s jersey even the day after the match.

“I am still celebrating our victory against South Africa and I promise myself that I will continue to wear this jersey till we win that cup, because it brings our team good luck.”

In the midst of blaring music from the DJ, the group of visitors moved from one joint to another with the four ladies till 5am.

All the while, the roads in Tunfure were still busy with okada (commercial motorcycle) operators moving girls and men around the area.

(Culled from The Nation newspaper)

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