It was a boring afternoon at the office. With no other alternative to keep my mind busy, I logged onto 2go, an app I hadn’t used in ages. I wanted to see if I could reconnect with some old friends and perhaps make new friends. I logged in and found none of my friends online. I navigated to the gay room. I sifted through the various chats and profiles present in there, before happening on a dude named Richard. It wasn’t long before we started getting acquainted.
Richard was thirty-two, a cute bottom, a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and worked with a company in Asaba, where he also lived with his wife who was then pregnant – at least that’s what he told me. In the following weeks, we chatted and talked on the phone more and more, and I felt drawn to him. I began to fancy him a friend.
About a month after we met, he extended an invitation to me to visit him in Asaba. He sounded so genuine and was persuasive, but for one odd reason or the other, I kept postponing my trip to Asaba. A part of me wished he would grow weary of inviting me and perhaps withdraw or abandon his repeated invitations.
One morning, about three months later, during which time he’d being relentless with his invitation for me to come see him, he called me to inform me that his wife had just put to bed. I extended my congratulations, genuinely happy for him. I asked that he hand the phone over to his wife so I could personally felicitate with her. He told me that he’d just left the hospital, but that he would return to check on her and the newborn later in the day, and then I could speak to her. Around 8pm, he called me and handed over the phone to ‘his wife’, so that I could congratulate her. I rejoiced with her, so taken in by her convincing responses, that it shocked me to later learn that she was some fake ass bitch who’d been recruited to make Richard’s sinister plan appear genuine.
About a month afterward, Richard informed me about his baby’s dedication. Again, he extended an invitation to me, talking about how I was his only close friend, and how all his siblings were in faraway Abuja and would be unable to make time to attend. He talked about how he really needed help with the preparations for the dedication. I tried to beg off, saying I was swamped with work and would not be able to spare even a moment to travel to Asaba for the baby’s dedication. He reasoned that I could come in on Friday and head back home on Sunday evening or very early on Monday morning. I tried to make excuses that my weekend was also occupied with lots of things that needed to be done, but he was relentless. His master stroke was when he said, “Okay, even if you can’t do this for me, please do it for the baby. Surely, you can’t refuse that.”
This earnest plea touched me deeply and I finally conceded. I told him I would get back to him. My mind was quite made up anyway. And as though Fate was determined to grease and straighten the road to my impending hell, when I woke up on that Wednesday morning, it was to discover a text message on my phone. I’d just being paid my salary. I now had sufficient funds and no viable reason as to why I shouldn’t travel to Asaba. I called Richard to get directions to his house. He was so thrilled and texted me the directions immediately. I began packing a bag with a few clothing items.
Richard’s call woke me up first thing on Thursday morning; he was calling to ensure that I had not changed my mind about coming over. His excitement bubbled over the phone, as he told me how much he was looking forward to seeing me. I felt warmed by his enthusiasm.
My best friend, Jovin, came to my house early that morning, and the first words he uttered when I hung up Richard’s call were, “Fabby, I’ve been restless and uneasy all night about this your travel.” He went on to try to dissuade me from going, but I was nearly all set, with my parking and my decision. Jovin has been my bosom friend for over three years, we are more like brothers. He knows all about my sexcapades and love life, and I his. I brushed off his reservations. “Pikin, abegi, leave that thing,” I said. “You too dey fear. Nothing dey happen.” Realizing that there was no stopping me, Jovin wished me a safe trip.
I left for the bus park, where I boarded a bus to Ughelli, and from there hopped onto an Asaba-bound bus. Richard called me frequently during the course of the journey, in a bid to ascertain my location at each time. He asked me to get off the bus at Ibuzor, which is just after Ogwashi-Uku and before Asaba. As directed, I got off the bus at Ibuzor and called him. He asked me to wait at a nearby petrol station. He said he’d send over an okada to pick me in a few minutes, as his address was in a remote and confusing part of the town, and he wouldn’t want me to get lost trying to locate it on my own.
At this point, I felt a slight fluttering of unease, but I had come too far to turn back. So I ignored the voice of caution, and described the clothes I was wearing – a purple top with cream colored trousers – so that the okada rider could easily identify me.
About five minutes later, a man on a motorbike rode up to me and asked if I was Fabby; I got in behind him after I answered in the affirmative. We then commenced on a long ride through bush paths and bad roads, and past several uncompleted and deserted buildings. And just when I’d be getting unnerved, we’d pass by some nice looking homes. And then, we plunged deeper into the bush paths. I was now so frightened I couldn’t stop myself from asking the okada man if we were ever going to get to our destination. He reassured me that we were almost there.
Indeed we were. For just then, I spotted a guy pretending to urinate beside a fence just ahead of us as the bike began slowing. As we passed by the guy, I was suddenly attacked without warning from behind. The bike had idled to a stop, and I was yanked off it and to the ground. As I sprang and faced him to fight back, four other guys appeared from over the fence. Driven by fear, I lashed out at the one who had pulled me off the bike, kicking out at his groin. He yelped and fell to the ground, but quickly regained himself and snatched up a wooden plank, which he struck out at my head with. Stars exploded before my eyes, and I dropped into blackness, losing consciousness.
I regained my consciousness a few moments later, to find myself being dragged inside an uncompleted building. My clothes were blood-stained and my head was still bleeding from a deep cut. As my mind cleared, I realized that my hands and legs were chained. My body was wracked with the kind of pain that made me realize they’d probably attacked me while I was unconscious. Finally, we got into the building, and they deposited me in a corner.
One of them noticed that I was awake, and looked at me with contempt, saying, “Look at what you’ve done to yourself. This would not have happened if you had followed us jeje. You wan show us say you get power, abi? Homo like you!” And he hissed.
Weak and terrified, all I could say was, “Please, don’t kill me… Take whatever you want… Just spare my life…”
A hot slap from behind across my face quenched my words, and the guy who slapped me asked me to shut up. I shut up, but instead began silently confessing my sins and begging God for forgiveness and mercy. My prayer was interrupted by a sudden scream from outside: “Ewooo! Ewooo! Otua kam si jee?! Chi m o!” (Loosely translated to mean: ‘Oh no! Oh no! Is this how I will depart from this world? My God o!’)
I knew then that I was not alone. I watched as another guy was dragged into the building from outside, bound hand and foot, as I was. About twenty-five minutes later, yet another young man was led into the room. This one hadn’t screamed his panic and didn’t look like he’d struggled with his captors. He simply followed calmly after them, apparently resigned to his fate. Our captors must have been puzzled by him, because after tying him up, they asked why he hadn’t struggled or screamed or tried to escape. He replied simply, “I don enter be say I don enter. Wetin I wan fight for again? The highest thing wey fit happen na death.” Our captors found this highly amusing, and they laughed amongst themselves, calling the man a smart guy.
They proceeded to search our bags, picking out the things they saw and sharing them out amongst themselves – including the bags. Then, they took our mobile phones and asked how much money we had in our bank accounts. I informed them that I had only N65, 000. They told me that the sum of N120, 000 was required to “bail me out”. The calm guy, who turned out to be a school teacher from Enugu, was told that his “bail” was set at N100, 000. And the one who had been hysterical, a married father of one child who had come all the way from Lagos, was asked to cough out N150, 000 to secure his release.
They collected my ATM card and demanded for my pin, and then headed straight to the nearest bank, intent on emptying out my account. However, my card was useless as the chips were bad (I’d been planning on applying for a new one). They asked me to call anyone I knew who could send the remaining balance of N55, 000 to my account. I pleaded with them that It was already nighttime, and that it was only in the morning that I could make any calls to get them their money.
They left us in peace for a few hours. But then, in the middle of the night, we were rudely awakened and asked what our sexual roles were. I promptly said “Top”. Even if I was Bottom or Versatile, I’d have still maintained that I was Top, because I’d had an instant premonition as to what their query was leading up to. The other two guys answered that they were Versatiles. And our gleefully declared that the two of them put on a show on how the anus is fucked. They ordered them to fuck themselves.
The two men were horrified, and seemed greatly reluctant to do their bidding. Our captors proceeded to slap them around a bit, until they conceded. And so, they went into action. They started out by reluctantly sucking each other’s dicks, but neither could attain an erection of course. No matter how hard they tried, neither dick got erect. Eventually, one of the guys was amazingly able to sustain an erection. And then – Boom! – it was show time! The other (unlucky) dude then lay on his side and raised one leg in the air to facilitate entry by the guy who had an erect dick. A large fluorescent lamp was beamed on them all this while. The Ibuzor guys laughed heartily at the scene playing out before them. And in spite of myself, I joined in the laughter, strangely both intrigued and amused by the live porn flick.
Later we were allowed to return to slumber for what was a few hours left in the night. Very early the next morning, we were woken and moved into yet another uncompleted building. When the day brightened up a bit, I begged to be given access to my phone so that I could make calls for them to have their money. I was instructed to place the call on loudspeaker. I unlocked my phone, went to BBM and pinged Jovin with the details of my ordeal. At first, he didn’t believe me. So I asked one of my captors to take a picture of me, adding that my friend, who was supposed to send the money, did not believe my story and would only send the money when he saw evidence that I was indeed a captive.
On seeing the picture, Jovin sent a reply that had me thinking he’d screamed them on his side: ‘Fabby, I warned you! But you wouldn’t listen! Look at what you’ve gotten yourself into!’ Remembering his reservations the previous day, I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion, and tears of regret seeped from my eyes and rolled down my face. I told him to hurry over to my cousins and show them the picture of me looking bloody and bruised, but that he should tell them that I’d been attacked by armed robbers on my way to visit my father.
Less than twenty minutes later, phone calls began streaming in from all over. Apparently, everyone had now heard of my ordeal at the hands of the ‘armed robbers’ – my dad, my sisters, my in-laws; even my grandmother, who sobbed profusely on the phone, saying over and over, “Nwata nke a choro igbu m mgbe onwum erubeghi…!” (‘This child wants to send me to the grave before my time is come’) This hurt me, especially as just two months earlier, my family had been devastated by the death of my mum. The last thing anyone in the family needed right now was another death in the family. I tried to reassure my grandma that I would be fine, but with all the other callers, I had to fake exaggerated cries of anguish and pain to impress upon them the seriousness of my situation. I begged them to act quickly in meeting the demands of my captors as every minute spent here was torture.
Eventually, an uncle who I’d been asking for money for several months prior to this to use for a pressing need, but who always insisted that he had no money to spare, was the one who eventually sent the sum of N50, 000 to my cousin’s account for onward transmission to my account. Once the money was confirmed in my account, the hoodlums once again confiscated my phone.
The other two men were also forced to call their families and demand that money be sent immediately and without any delay to my account. It was particularly funny to watch the married father, as he barked commands into the phone at his wife, ordering her to go to his brother and other relations and ensure that they raise and send the money.
Eventually, all the money was lodged in my bank account, after which the hoodlums proceeded to taunt and flog us with whips, while commanding the “spirit of homosexuality” to depart from us, asking us to swear that we would never indulge in homosexual acts ever again. Thereafter, the guys rode with me on different motorbikes to the First Bank outlet in Ogwashi-Uku. I applied and was given a new ATM card. Looking back, I am amazed at how stupid I was; I was with all the hoodlums in the bank, where I could easily have raised an alarm or something, but I was too petrified, especially by the thought of the naked pictures and videos they’d taken of the three of us earlier, as we ‘confessed’ to being gay. Right there in the bank, I decided that I just wanted the entire ordeal to be over as quickly and as quietly as possible, so that I could get on with my life. Besides, they’d threatened me that if I created a scene in the bank, they’d post the videos and pictures online as well as on my Facebook and other social media accounts (remember they still had my phones in their possession). The thought of such lurid pictures and videos being released to the world filled me with cold dread. I was ready to walk the length and breadth of Nigeria on my knees to stop this from happening.
Anyway, I was paralyzed by fear, and watched without a fuss as these criminals meticulously emptied my bank account of all our money, plus an extra N20, 000. You see, unknown to me, one of them had called my cousin to tell him that they needed an additional N20k to definitely secure my release. My cousin promptly sent the money, despite my text that no one should send any more money after my N120, 000 ‘bail money’ was reached.
Anyway, thankfully, we were released later in the evening and marched off to the major road. I was dressed in nothing but a pair of shorts, my brown boots, which I’d had to beg for before they let me have them, and an old ragged T-shirt which they scrounged up from God-knows-where and threw at me. The other two guys were treated in similar fashion. Upon reaching the major road, we were asked to run and not look back or else something else would happen. And so, with the money they’d given us for transport – I and the guy from Enugu were given N1, 500, while the guy from Lagos was given N3000 – we ran for a good distance down the major road till we had put a considerable distance between ourselves and the criminals. Then we spotted a bus which was heading towards Asaba and we all hopped aboard.
Amazingly, one of the other guys tried to hustle my phone number from me. I gave him an evil look, like, ‘Dude, you’ve just escaped from a harrowing ordeal, the last thing on your mind now should be a hookup!’
On getting to Asaba, I located a cybercafé, paid for internet use and logged into my accounts on Yahoo!, Facebook, Manjam etc. I changed all my passwords and then sent a message to a friend of mine, KingBey (a regular commenter on this blog). He was one of those I called while I was still in captivity. They – the criminals – had also called him subsequently and asked for more money or else they would kill me. KingBey, not to be intimidated, lashed out a diatribe at them, heaping curses on them, complete with a reservation in hell for them. As payback for KingBey’s sharp tongue, I got a hot slap.
Anyway, I sent him an inbox, informing him that I’d regained my freedom from my captors. Due the all the craziness of the last several hours, he was doubtful and suspicious, wondering whether this was a further ploy by the criminals to extort more money. So he asked for proof that I’d been released. He gave me the phone numbers of two guys who were residents in Asaba and nearby Onitsha – Evans and Kelechi. Evans, who lived in Asaba, was the first to get to where I was, and while we waited for Kelechi, I narrated my story to him. The bitch listened to me, but rather than show sympathy, he mocked and jeered at me! Lol.
Eventually, Kelechi, who was on his way to his parents’ home in Onitsha, pulled up suddenly in a car and yelled, “You have two seconds to get in!” Evans and I jumped into the vehicle and in milliseconds, we were off. In the car, Kelechi joined in scolding me, asking why I had chosen to go to Ibuzor of all places, which was apparently notorious for such kito occurrences. Throughout their joint tirade, I kept mute. I was glad it was all over and I just wanted to get back to my normal life and put it all behind me. We dropped Evans off somewhere along the way and headed to Kelechi’s house. When we got there, I took some painkillers and promptly fell asleep. The next morning, he dropped me off at the Peace Mass Transit Bus Station and gave me some cash for the bus fare. And minutes later, I was homebound to Bayelsa.
Written by Fabby