I was so young and naive in SS3. Never knew anything about kito. I’d been deboarded from school in my SS2 after I was reported to the school authority over the “crime of being gay.” So, my father made arrangements for me to live with a teacher and be going to school from her house. I was always lonely and bored because I was introverted and didn’t know anyone in that community.
Later on, now in SS3, another group of my classmates were deboarded for misconduct in school. Nothing gay-related though. One of them, Obinna, was gay actually and we fucked a few times when I was in the dormitory. These classmates rented an apartment and were going to school from there as day students. So, I’d visit them daily after school and would go back to the house of my guardian in the evening before she came home. Around this time, we were preparing for our upcoming WAEC exams.
Then one day, I visited those friends of mine and forgot my phone at their place when I left. When I realised this on my way home, I hurried back to get it, but they denied seeing the phone. I was very sure I’d forgotten it there and I suspected Obinna had it; he’d been caught many times stealing in the dormitory. I begged him to produce the phone but he persistently denied having it. Unwilling to let it go, I reported the matter to a member of the community vigilante the next day. He interrogated Obinna and he confessed that he’d hidden the phone, but that he didn’t have it anymore. He’d sold it. The vigilante man gave him two weeks to buy me a new phone or give me the exact money equivalence.
He eventually got my phone back to me.
This incident somehow didn’t affect our friendship. We later travelled home to write JAMB. On the day we returned to school, we were to write Physics WAEC exam the next day. I pleaded with my guardian to let me to sleep at my friends’ place to enable me study for the exam with them. She gave her permission after much pleading. She was like a mother to me. Excited, I called my friends and informed them that I’d be spending the night at their place. They were very pleased; I was sure their happiness was because I was their de facto cook more than anything else. Whenever I visited them, I prepared the meals they ate.
That evening, I was on my way to their place when a guy stopped me. I recognised him as someone I’d been seeing a lot around in the community, even though we’d never spoken to each other before. He was tall, slim and distractingly good looking. After a brief chitchat, he went straight to the point. Said he liked me and would like us to hook up. Right then. I thought he was joking, but I glanced down at his crotch and noticed the bulge of his hard-on.
You have to understand something: there were a lot of factors that led me into allowing myself get seduced by someone who was basically a stranger during our first interaction at night. Firstly, I’d never heard of queer guys getting set up. Secondly, I was incredibly naïve, 16 years old, and lonely. I was sex starved too. And finally, this kind of forwardness was something that was sort of the way hookups were operated in school; you approach a random guy who you suspect is gay, and if you two vibe, the hookup happens almost immediately.
So, I said okay to this guy, and began following him to where he wanted us to get down.
We walked till we got to a lonely path. I got a bit apprehensive, but konji overpowered every other sense inside me, guiding me after him. He led me to an uncompleted bungalow. We went in and as if he could read the uncertainty in my mind, he assured me that this place was safe. Meanwhile, I’d noticed that his phone was buzzing repeatedly and he refused to answer it. Instead, he would respond to whoever was calling with texts.
But before I could dwell on the oddity of that, he grabbed me and began kissing me. Things got hot and heavy very fast. We were making out, and then he was yanking down my trousers and inserting his finger into my ass. He was very good with the finger-fucking. Then I gave him a blow job. Then he wanted to stick his dick inside my ass, but I declined when I asked and he said he didn’t have any condom. I am a stickler for protected sex. So, I said no. He wheedled but I maintained my no. His mood then changed and he became sulky. I offered to suck him, and he grudgingly accepted. So, I sucked him till he came. Thereafter, he wanked me till I came.
Soon after we got dressed, three guys leaped into the vacant space where we were. They pounced on me and began beating me with sticks and belts. I didn’t even have time to be properly startled by their intrusion before I was buried under a deluge of lashes and pain. I still have a scar on my body from that attack. They were snarling, “So, na homo you come here to do, abi?” as they beat me. I was pleading with them, and they refused to let up.
Then I realised two things. One, they were beating only me. The guy I’d just gotten intimate with stood to the side, watching them attack me. Secondly, I recognised one of the guys beating me as someone I’d interacted with around the community. I called his name, hoping that my familiarity would make him intervene on my behalf. But he ignored me and beat me some more. This was a guy who I usually gave money to whenever we ran into each other, or I’d buy him a drink if he asked. He was the one hitting me the most.
When they had beaten me black and blue, they collected my phone, wristwatch, footwear and all the money I had on me. They didn’t even let me go of their own volition. I saw an opportunity and broke free, escaping from them in a run.
It was around past 9 PM at this time.
I felt so bad. I was hurting all over my body and bleeding in some places. I was thinking about what to tell my guardian. It was obvious I couldn’t go on to my friends’ place; I had to return home. I was considering lying to her – say I was robbed or something. She would definitely believe me.
But I wanted my phone back from those hoodlums, seeing as I knew at least one of them. And I wasn’t about to place myself in a position to be possibly blackmailed. So, when I got home, amidst my guardian’s alarm upon seeing my state, I told her everything that happened. I could feel her disappointment as I spoke, but she was a kindly woman. She was more concerned with my physical state than expressing her anger. She took me immediately to the home of a chemist to get some medication and to have my wounds tended to. Thereafter, that same night, we went to the house of the guy who I recognised, to meet his parents who said they hadn’t seen him all day. My guardian then called the community vigilante and reported the crime (just that I was attacked), instructing them to arrest the boys. We were back home when she made this call. Her husband told her to call my dad and inform him, but she said no. That my father would be very disappointed to learn that I’d been going to have sex with boys after I was deboarded from school for the same reason. I felt deeply grateful to her for this, because it was apparent that she was doing what she could to protect me. Plus, she was also feeling bad, blaming herself for letting me leave the house to go to my friends’ place.
Just before midnight, there was a knock on the gate. It was the vigilante. They said they needed me for questioning, that they had apprehended the guys and that they were accusing me of being a homo. They had the guys with them, all four of them. I didn’t deny the accusation. What was the point? I admitted it, and then I pointed to the guy who seduced me, saying we both had just had sex before the other three appeared on the scene. He tried to deny it, but the vigilante guy closest to him lashed at him with a machete, cutting off his objections.
It was then that he confessed the most shocking thing – well, shocking to me. He said it was my friend, Obinna, who had arranged everything. That he was the one who approached him and asked him to seduce me. That night especially, because he knew I would be on my way to their house. He said Obinna had wanted to get back at me because of the phone incident that went down between me and him. He’d intended to revenge the humiliation I made him go through.
I was stunned. This was the same Obinna who had agreed to a reconciliation after he returned my phone to me. The same person I’d been going to his place to cook for and to hang out with. And all this time, he’d been plotting to so viciously take me down. I was chilled by this knowledge.
The vigilante men handed me my belongings and said they would see me the next day. However, if I thought my troubles were over, I was soon disabused of that thinking.
In the morning, I was preparing for school when one of them came around and said he wanted to see me personally. When we stepped out for me to hear him out, he told me to give them – the vigilante – 20 thousand naira otherwise, they would take the matter to the school authority and to the police, and I would be arrested and jailed.
I stared at this man in shock. I was a 16-year-old who had done nothing wrong – who had in fact had everything wrong done to him. And this opportunistic fool was blackmailing me for a quick payday.
I didn’t argue with him. I calmly told him okay, that I would get them the money. I mean, I had an exam to get to.
Two days later, he accosted me on my way back from school and started harassing me about the money. I assured him that I would get him the money. And when I got home, realizing that this wasn’t something I could handle on my own, I summoned the courage required and I called my dad.
You see, my dad had a history of coming through for me first and foremost as a father, setting his feelings about my sexuality aside in order to take care of me. My messed-up history as a scandalized gay student started when I was in SS1. Some SS3 bullies gathered all the boys in my set who were rumored to be gay and beat us up in the bush. This drew the attention of the school authority and the principal moved the case to police station because of the level of injuries we sustained from the beating. We were about ten of us. In the police report we were forced to write, I denied being gay and didn’t admit to indulging in any act.
My father was called into the police station as a parent. Some other parents were called over as well. When my dad arrived, he took me aside and told me to tell him the truth. I opened up and told him the truth. He said he would handle the situation since it looked as though the police were not ready to release us. He called the State Commissioner of Police, and the DPO was forced to release me immediately along with my friend who I begged my dad to represent, because his family is strict and didn’t show up.
Then when we got back to school, and the school authority wanted to deboard me. But I maintained my innocence and begged my friend to defend me. I told him that I didn’t admit to being gay in the police report I wrote, and he should back me up. I had after all secured his release through my father.
This was how I was allowed back into the dormitory.
In my SS2, I was caught by someone having sex with another student. The guy that caught us was in SS3, and he started blackmailing me. To nip this situation in the bud, I reported myself to my housemaster, believing I could trust him to protect me. That he would treat the matter internally and call the SS3 boy to order. Instead, he outed me to the school authority. I faced a disciplinary panel and was deboarded from the dormitory. My father again stepped in and organised for me to stay with my guardian and be going to school as a day student.
And now, I was about to call him on yet another gay-related mess. I felt very guilty as I talked to him on the phone, telling him about everything that was going on with me. He acted the way I knew he would act. He didn’t waste any time with recriminations; he instead asked for me to get him the number of any one of the vigilante guys. I got the number from my guardian, who was upset that I got my father involved. I silenced her when I told her about how the vigilante guys had decided to blackmail me.
I called the vigilante guy to let him know that I had involved my father, and instead of being cowed, he began bragging that it was even better, that with my father involved, they would ask for 200 thousand naira otherwise they would pursue my matter with the police.
The next day, I was on my way to school when one of the vigilante guys stopped me. He was on a bike and said I should get on, that I wouldn’t be going to school that day, that my father had called them for a meeting that day. Fortunately, I had no exams that day and got on the bike with him. We drove to their quarters. It wasn’t a long wait before I saw my dad pull up his Jeep into the parking lot. They noticed him too and asked if he was my father. I said yes. They began talking about how my “papa na big man and you dey there dey do homo. He will pay us big money before we release you.”
This filled me with a deep guilt. Here I was again, causing my father distress over my homosexuality.
My dad came in. They offered him a seat. He told me to narrate everything that happened right there in front of everybody. I did, but this time, I salted my narrative with a lie that the guy who seduced me that night had used charm on me and that that was the reason I followed him to that uncompleted building. I also stressed that we didn’t have sex.
My father asked the vigilante where those guys were. They said their presence was not needed, that I was the homo. My dad asked them for proof that I was a homo. While gesturing at the bruises that were still on my face from the attack, he asked the men if they could see what their community members had done to his son.
“I want those boys provided immediately or I’m calling the State Commander of Police!” he railed, already getting angry.
This display of temper wasn’t something the vigilante guys had expected. They were beginning to tremble as they began to realise that my father was someone even more important than they’d imagined. And my father further hammered in that point when he fumed that they had made him miss an important meeting he was supposed to attend at the Government House over – “over what exactly?” he wanted to know.
They couldn’t provide an answer. I mean, how could they tell a man who knows the State Commander of the Police and attends meetings in the Government House that they had called him over to demand for money or they would report his (perhaps) homosexual son to the police?
They were stammering explanations. Apologizing. Saying they didn’t mean to stress my father. But my father wasn’t done intimidating them. He insisted that since they were threatening to take me to the State CID, that we should get going over there immediately, let the matter be resolved at the police station.
At this point, they were panicked and really begging, willing to do anything to no longer be involved in my matter. My father told them that they would have to sign an undertaking on behalf of the hoodlums who attacked me, that should anything else happen to me, they – the vigilante – would be held responsible.
The undertaking was written and they signed it. In that moment, I had never felt more important in my life. It filled me with such savage pleasure to see my oppressors so absolutely humbled.
Thereafter, my father asked me to enter the car. I was expecting to get scolded severely on the ride back to school, but he said nothing to me. Instead, when he got to my school, he warned me to be careful and to try not to get into any more trouble. That I had a few weeks left to finish my exams and leave the community. My guardian was there to see us as he finished his scolding by seizing my phone, and she intervened, pleading with him to let me keep my phone. He relented, handed me back the phone, gave me 5 thousand naira, and drove off.
When my exams were over, my father didn’t let me attend my valedictory service because he was concerned about what those guys would do to me now that my stay in that community was almost done. But he needn’t have worried. News of what transpired between him and the vigilante traveled fast after that day, and I became something of a boss in the community. The guys who beat me up would see me on the road and hurry past me, mumbling things like, “This boy is looking for who to put into trouble.” As for Obinna, it’s safe to say that we were finished being friends after I learned of his wickedness.
A couple of years later, I would learn that one of the guys who beat me (the one I recognised) had been thrown into prison for a capital crime. And I bumped into another one of them in Lagos last year. He was looking miserable. All this being further proof that it doesn’t pay to be cruel to your fellow man simply because of his homosexuality.
Written by Owen