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Tinder Digital Prostitution: A tax free billion dollar industry in Nigeria

Nigerian girls have turned social media apps designed for connecting with new people and staying in touch friends, family and acquaintances to a hub for digital prostitution.

When Zuckerberg designed Facebook or when Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger built Instagram from a co-working space in San Francisco, when Sean Rad invented Tinder or when the trio of Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown created Snapchat, they probably didn’t envisage that their apps would become platforms for prostitutes to advertise their goods and services in Nigeria.

People who return to Nigeria for holidays are often shocked when they discover that they can’t get dates or meet decent people to start friendships with on Nigerian Tinder. A huge percentage of the girls you’d see there are for “strictly hookups or massage with happy ending” as some boldly indicate on their bio’s. It’s really embarrassing! According to them, when you meet a girl/guy on Tinder overseas, it’s never for sex, it can lead to sex but you’re very sure you matched with a person with a job/profession who genuinely wants to meet new people, make new friends or go out on dates. There are different apps/websites strictly for meeting with prostitutes.

According to Britannica, sex has always been one of the few pleasures of the poor and oppressed. Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world. Do the math! While sex is part of normal human behavior, prostitution on the other hand is frowned on morally and legally in Nigeria and has now evolved from the road side and brothels to social media apps. An unofficial survey revealed that the Transportation Network Industry in Lagos and Abuja (Uber and Taxify) generates 80% of it revenue from 8pm to 6am (with numerous instances where these females offer sex acts to drivers as payment for their ride fares #sexforrides).

It is left up to you to determine whether you support their lifestyle and professional choices or not. What should be a cause for concern is that the money these girls make from digital prostitution is tax-free. Our government is broke! Looking for loans here and there while we have millions of young females raking in an average of 200,000 Naira on a monthly basis tax free (using Lagos State and Abuja as our reference points) with an average income of 20,000 Naira per night.

In more developed countries you are obligated by law to pay your personal income tax regardless of your occupation. Businesses regardless of size and revenue across the country pay taxes, why shouldn’t these people pay taxes too? They can be classified as business owners because there is a monetary payment in exchange for a service(s) in multiple transactions. The sex-tax would be difficult to enforce because prostitution is illegal in Nigeria and social media space is simply uncontrollable.

However, if the government is willing to generate more internal generated revenue this would be a gold mine! In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Sadly, in Nigeria governance and religious doctrines go hand in hand! Nigerians are not objective with issues such as this, they are extremely sentimental. Too many revenue streams are ignored because of religious morality and laws fueled by religious morality. Nigeria might be the capital of hypocrisy in the world.

Fegor Okonedo
IG/Twitter: @fegurgreen

Written by Izuchukwu E.N

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