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Death of female clubber exposes ‘lady pickers’ in Anambra

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A new profession has emerged as a result of Miss Chinyere Awuda’s tragic death in a nightclub in Awka, the capital of Anambra State.

Close neighbors described Miss Awuda, an Awka resident and native of Nnobi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, as a laid-back woman who gained the respect of others by treating everyone with respect.

A journalist with a popular radio station in Anambra, Mr Ogemdi Ozoemena who claimed that Awuda used to be his neighbour, said he regularly saw her on their street, and had seen her just days before she was allegedly hacked to death by clubbers at Mila Club, which is situated inside Cosmila Hotel, a popular hospitality facility in Awka, which has its parent facility in Lagos.

“She always called me Oga Vicky, and she was such a respectful girl. I cannot believe she has died, moreso, in such a manner,” Ozoemena said.

Awuda, on the day of her death, last Sunday, may have been oblivious of her own imminent death, and had dressed up as usual, and moved to Mila Club, to join other fun seekers. She was however alleged to have been beaten to death very late in the night when some clubbers, who were having their friend’s birthday party, accused her of stealing from them.

Her body was found in an abandoned swimming pool the next morning (Sunday) by her relatives, who raised the alarm over her death.

There have been various accounts of how Miss Awuda died.

While some people said she was accused of picking and pocketing money being sprayed on a birthday celebrant inside the club, others said she stole some money meant to be sprayed on the celebrant, which were stacked in bundles by its owner, who was waiting for his turn to go and spray on the celebrant. Those who promoted this line of story said she made to escape with the money, before she was apprehended.

Police authorities have however confirmed that the celebrant and his friends who were accused of beating her to death and dumping her body in a pool have been arrested, just as the state commissioner for culture, tourism and entertainment, Hon Don Onyeji said the hotel has been sealed.

The hotel management has tendered footage from the CCTV to police authorities, explaining that the girl stole from the celebrants and escaped without being caught, but later fell into an abandoned swimming pool while hiding from the clubbers, in a dark part of the hotel compound. They alleged that she may have drowned, as the bundles of money she was alleged to have stolen was also found in the pool.

Meanwhile, her death has revealed that there is an unpopular ‘profession’, which some ladies indulge in just to make ends meet.

A source, Mr Austin Udoka said that he is a regular clubber said: “They are called pickers. These girls just dress up and come to the club on weekends, and once there is an event in the club, they just begin to pick money once friends of the celebrants start to spray money on them.

“These girls are usually very fast with picking money, and they are usually not related to the celebrant, but once you see them, you assume that they are working for the celebrant.”

Checks,  also showed that such girls abound in virtually every club house in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

At Ibiza Night Club, which was formerly Abakaliki Street, a worker in the facility, who did not wish to be identified, said the girls operate as a group, and are known to many as professional pickers.

“They get information about events in most clubs more than anyone else. They know when a big customer is going to celebrate a birthday or other events, and they always come around, because they know that rich people will be around to spray money on their friends,” he said.

When asked if what the girls do is a legitimate job, the staff said: “You can call it stealing if you like, but the people whose money they always come around to pick are not worried.

“I think they also have collaboration with bouncers in most clubs, to whom they give returns, if not, they should not be allowed into the club house.

“I also know that some of them are cunning, and because they are usually young and pretty ladies, they come in with men, and once you’re with a man, you cannot be sent out. But once they get inside the club, they start picking and pocketing people’s money.”

A man, Mr Dona, who said that he is a regular clubber at Cosmila Hotel said: “Some of these girls just dress up and come to the club and begin to pick money. While you’re spraying money on your friends, these girls will just be picking and pocketing the money.

“Because men are already drunk in clubs, the girls get away with the money. I see them regularly, I’m a regular clubber at Cosmila.

“I was not in the club last weekend, but I heard that the girl besides picking, went for money that someone kept by his seat side, which he was getting prepared to go and spray. That was what happened.

“With what has happened to this lady, I hope others will stop that lifestyle and get something doing.”

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