Cave night club could have passed for any other club but it is not like any other in Nigeria. It is a strip club where many bevy beautiful numbering up to 70 dance nude for money, some are undergraduates.
Many of these undergraduates come from far and near, work in night and then study in the day. The CEO of the club, Dr. Shina Eddo said he is proud of his job and wouldn’t kill his daughter if she choose to be a striper too. He spoke to Samuel Olatunji who visited the club severally.
How have you being able to maintain the success?
Well, Nigeria is an open ground for business, if you know what to do and how to do it. Anything entertainment in Nigeria succeeds, if you know how to go about it. Nigerians love fun especially this kind of fun because usually we only have it in western countries but now that we have it here, they are so happy that it exist. Patronage is on and it will always be because we are giving them exactly what they want, the kind of girls they want to see, everything especially now that we have been licence by the government to operate, clients can now patronise us without fear.
Where you not scared to start?
No, it was not against the law just that we did not have licence when we started but it was not illegal but now we have licenced, we are operating licenced now, so people come in here freely.
You are not afraid that people will not buy the idea of you opening a strip bar?
Well you cannot compare a strip bar to a normal night club. Night club is a kind of business that anyone can just start. A strip club is a double situation, in terms of maintaining both strip and night club together, it’s like merging two different things together which is not easy, it is a complicated situation, that is why a lot of people that started the business don’t succeed, because they don’t know the do’s and the don’ts of the business, at the end they pull out. But as the Don, master of the game, I started it in Nigeria, whatever I say goes, nobody is emulating me because I alone know the secret of the business and that is why we are succeeding.
Where did you learn it?
I did not learn it, it just part of me, as an artist things like that are part of me. I once lived in Europe and while there, I used to visit this kind of places because places they are all over Europe, so I can say I leant part of it from there and secondly I am an artist so I just merged the two together.
What do you mean you started it? Because there was a time I did two cover stories for sun newspaper on nude club especially on Allen Avenue, Club Unique and Ocean blue but I don’t know if they still exist now and I have not heard of this bar as at that time?
Well, the truth is, the first strip club on Allen was TT bar now Club Unique and I built it, I started it with my partner Tony, and then we quarrelled and I left it because the quarrel was becoming too serious, so serious that it can lead one of us killing each other. I left the club for him and he renamed it to Club Unique. I actually started from there, that was the first strip club on Allen, the first regular known strip club on Allen. Thou there used to be a Number10 bar on that same street but they were not striping fully, it was a partially nude club unlike the one we started there, totally strip.
And that was the first strip nude club but I think Ocean blue started around the same time we started but Ocean blue was
kind of small unlike TT bar which was almost the biggest in the whole of Nigeria then before I left the place, and my partner converted it to Club Unique but well it still functions and by the grace of God, this one is now the biggest in the whole of Africa, and one of the biggest in the whole world. Far bigger than anyone you can think of, far bigger than all the strip clubs in Ikeja put together, we have over 60 girls and we are looking at over 120 people working here.
Where do you get the girls?
We don’t look for them, they look for us. Once you are able to position yourself in this business, the girls would come looking for you. We have accommodation here at no cost, and they have all the freedom here, they are making good money and they catch all the fun. We have a clientele, the big boys come here, they come, they don’t pay anything for accommodation, they don’t pay for feeding, their welfares are well taking good care of and they make good money, so that is why they all keep tripping in. Other girls all over Nigeria, once they hear what we pay them here, they keep coming in and we keep having them, we should have about 70 girls if I am not mistaking.
From my interactions with the girls, I noticed some of them are educated and others are in the universities, How were you able to convince them? Was the money part of the luring factor?
Actually the kind of money they make help them to take care of a lot of issues, like most of them are in school and can imagine when you are in school and in a situation where you have to sleep with a guy to get 5/10 thousand or what have you but here you don’t have to sleep with anyone. In a strip club or you have to do is lap dance a guy or sit on him, when you sit on him, you wine and he gives you money, some can give you N5000, some can give you N10,000, some can even give you N20,000, it depends. So the kind of money they make here enables them to take care of their parents, some of them have kids, some of them help their siblings, those going to school take care of their school needs and sort a lot of issues for them.
In this place a girl makes up to N150, 000 in a day and in a week is six days because we open on Tuesdays to Sundays and we go off on Mondays. A girl makes up to a N150,000 in a week that is about N600,000 in a month and when she goes out to tell her friends that this is the kind of money she makes, her friend will want to come too and that is why they keep coming from different parts of the world. We have girls from Kenya, Cameroon, Ghana just name it.
Have you had any parent come here to fight you before?
No, we don’t take minors here, in Nigeria contest, a minor is somebody below 23 unlike overseas where a minor is somebody below 18 years of age, so once you are a minor we don’t allow you here in whatever capacity, whether as a dancer or a customer and for guys, once you are under 27 you are a minor and we will not let you in, you must be close to 30 before we let you in, you must be very matured and very responsible.
When you screen the girls what do you screen them for?
A lot of things, we screen them for their body, everything, we do a total system screening on them.
Do you teach them how to dance?
Yes of course, some that do not know how to dance learn from others that know how to, and sometimes in the evening they do practice, if they don’t understand they ask others, so basically they teach themselves. If you don’t know how to poll, we call it polling, you ask others who know better and once you are taught, the individual is good to go.
I learnt you have coordinators?
Yes, we have coordinators because of the numbers of girls we have unlike other clubs that don’t have coordinators because their girls are few but here we are talking about 70 girls and above ,so you need people to be looking at them. Besides you can see the size of this club, I am here at the front and something could be happening at the back and besides some customers will want to make love to the girls inside the club, so you need coordinators to monitor, to make sure that things are going on normal, and also to ensure that the girls are doing the lap dance the way they are supposed to do it. And also to ensure that their money does not disturb them because some of them will want to put the money in their bra and all that, as soon as they give them the money, the coordinators would collect the money and record it against their names.
So that is why we have coordinators, we have four coordinators and they are gallant.
Have you had people try to make you feel guilty sometimes or do you feel guilty that you are promoting s*x?
Guilt comes from the mind, you only feel guilty if you don’t know what you are doing but as far as what I am doing is good and people like it then I am good to go. I am just a fun provider, an entertainer. Big boys all over Lagos, men, women, they all come here despite the fact that we charge N5,000 at the gate, they still beg to come in, even if we tell them at the gate that we are not ready they still want to come in. Like on Saturdays and Sundays, you will see all the foreign expatriates coming into Lagos, they all come here to have fun.
Perhaps Sunday is a free day?
Yes, Sunday is free but on Saturdays you will see all the foreigners in Lagos here. And they are free, they have total freedom here, they are free to do whatever they want to do, they even enjoy here more than they enjoy abroad. They are so happy here.
What of a situation where a customer want to have s*x with one of your girls?
Well, if you want to do that, you are free too, we just have your data such as phone number, address and we know where you are taking the girl to, we assure the girl of her protection and then she goes with you.
I met a girl here yesterday and says she stays here for 24 hours and that is the first time I learnt that people live here and I have discussed with some of them before who said the money they make here is used to take care of their parents. When you look at the positive side you feel galvanized to do more? I know somebody who said she is in school, this is where she makes money to pay her fees, I also know of somebody who said she lives outside Lagos and she comes here to make money because she can’t do this in her state and go back. So sometimes, when you look at those good sides do you feel galvanised to do more?
Of course, I am fulfilling their dreams for them. They are having their dreams fulfilled here and that is a great thing for me to do and I am the one making that possible for them. I am happy about it and I think I want to do more, I want to help people to accomplish their dreams.
How many universities girls do you have here?
They are so many, most of them are polytechnic students. Have lost counts.
Tell me the existence of the licence; is it state licence or federal licence?
It is a state licence, Lagos State licence. You can see it on the wall as you enter.
And you pay yearly licence fee and tax?
Yes I do, you don’t get licence without paying and we pay our tax and every other thing. We pay all our dues to the government; we don’t owe the government anything.
Do you get harassed?
Not at all. All top government officers, politicians, this is their next home.
Do you give the girls ID cards?
Of course, they have their ID cards.
I am curious, what do the ID cards carry?
They are like dancers fabricator, for the dancers we don’t write stripers, we just write a dance fabricates.
Where do you get this idea from?
I am an idealist. Lots of ideas run through my mind.
What is the next plan for Cave?
We are spreading tentacles, we are moving to Lekki, then from Lekki to Apapa and then we are moving to other areas which I don’t want to reveal now.
Do you sometimes get some of the girls to sleep with you or do you sometimes want to sleep with them?
I don’t sleep with my girls, they are my girls, they work for me and I don’t have any reasons to sleep with them. They can sleep with who so ever they want to sleep with but not me their boss, I have my woman.
So do you have girls?
I have my wife. (Laughs)
And your wife knows this is what you do?
And she supports you?
Yes, she is happy about it. And we are living well.
I learnt that you are very comfortable, is this all you do?
It not easy running this business alone, it is like running an empire, controlling about a 120 workers, boys and girls and then dealing with over 300 customers on a daily basis. You understand? It just like running an empire, so it not easy
Although, I delegate, I have my brothers assisting me. I have my younger brother Tayo, another brother, Kola and Ade, they are helping me out.
You know the first time I came here, I am like how can girls be this bold. I came here like 10 times and I did not get any lap dance like I am flabbergasted sometimes, how can these girls be this bold. Are you sure you do not give them anything to embolden them?
No, if they want to drink they are free to take maybe beer or anything they want to drink to clear the shyness from their eyes. Not all of them.
Do they take drugs?
No, we don’t allow them to take drugs. If they take drugs they get drugged, so we don’t allow it. We only allow them to beer or take one or two shots of spirit and is it and some of them don’t even drink at all.
Now, because Nigeria generally we are shy about the subject of s*x and as it is what is driving this place is s*x, it might not be actual s*x, fantasy and all those kind of stuffs and as somebody who is in the business how would you advise to balance the two?
Yes, this thing is exotic, it is uncommon. When you see the things you don’t see ordinarily, you would want to look to it. Our customers come in here every day because the things they get here they don’t get it on the street. Behind every Nigerian man there is a bad girl, they want to see the things they don’t see ordinarily especially women and when they see a naked woman perform, dance in front of them, they love it and they always want to see it. That is why we have our customers every day, they can’t stop coming.
I want to ask a funny question. If you were to have a girl and she says she wants to strip dance would you allow her?
If I have a girl? As in how?
A girl child, a daughter.
Well, it depends, there is no girl that would tell her parent that she wants to strip dance, no girl would do that. If my daughter wants to strip dance, for instance my daughter school in the north and she is doing something and I am not aware of it, I am not going to kill her for it, I don’t know about it. There is no woman that will tell her father and mother that she wants to strip dance, they are doing it on their own. Ours is to make sure that you are not a minor that you are matured, once you are matured and you want to do it at your own will, you are free.
If you find out, what would you do?
Well, it depends. I will not kill her. If I don’t like her to do it, I will take her out of it and if she insists then so be it, I wouldn’t kill her, just like they do aboard. You can’t force your child to do anything that he or she doesn’t want to do and you allow them to do what they want to.
When people say this place is expensive, how do you feel?
Oh well, I feel good. It is expensive because we are doing it right. People keep patronising us, people keep talking about us, that is how we know we are doing it right.