MORE RANTINGS OF A RANDOM (Gay) NIGERIAN (Entry 2)

MORE RANTINGS OF A RANDOM (Gay) NIGERIAN (Entry 2)

Hello everyone

Today, I want to talk about something very important which affects all of us.

So, early 2016, one of my friends who I knew from my university days came over to my apartment and we were chatting. Then he randomly mentioned this white guy he’d met on Facebook who he had been talking with. I was disinterested in the matter and didn’t really pay any attention, so we moved on to talking about other things. A few weeks later, he messaged me to say that he was getting serious with the guy and that things were looking up. He even mentioned that the guy sent him some money the week before and that things were going smoothly for them. I merely wished him well and still didn’t give it much thought.

One Saturday morning, he came over to see me after he had earlier called, wanting to know if I was in town. He then began telling me how the guy was planning to move him to Europe where he lived. The plan was to send him an invitation letter plus supporting documents and buy him a ticket to the country. At this point, I became very uneasy with the whole situation. I began asking him questions. I reminded him that he would be moving to a foreign country where he knows no other person, just to meet a man he met on Facebook. I asked him if he did not think it was ridiculous. All I was saying was falling on deaf ears; he seemed adamant and his mind was made up.

Now, I kind of understood what he was feeling. Since he finished university, he had not been able to amount to much. He had not gotten decent employment – and let us not even talk about being gay in Nigeria. The toxic homophobia in this country can make anyone want to flee.

Anyway, eventually he left and I told him to reach out to me as soon as he got to his destination. And he did. We corresponded a few times but there was something a bit off about the way he texted with me. I couldn’t put my finger to it, but his responses seemed mechanical. I didn’t dwell much on it. Eventually we texted less and less to the point that we would go on for weeks without speaking, which to be honest, I did not find odd. I mean, he was in a new country, trying to make ends meet and all that. Besides I was also very busy. Life, it seemed, got in the way. Or so I thought.

Nearly fourteen months passed when he hit me up again and told me a story that chilled my blood. Apparently, he was trafficked for sex work against his will. He said that when he got to the country where he was supposed to meet his oyibo, the situation he was expecting to arrive into disappeared and things got real very fast. His movement was restricted and he had to have sex with men, “clients” he could not refuse. He had no access to his phone and it wasn’t even him I was texting with in the early days of his departure from Nigeria. Eventually he confided in one “customer” who had a conscience and the man threatened to call the police on the whole operation. And that was when he was let out.

This is typically the kind of stuff you see on CNN Freedom Project and never really think it will hit home. Apparently it happens.

Why am I telling this story? you may ask. My friend is fine now and putting the pieces of his life back together. Yes, you can blame him for being naïve and you can blame him for not applying common sense, but the reason why I am telling this story is to warn the rest of us that these predators still lurk online and are actively looking to recruit naïve people. Recently I had a weird conversation with some guy on twitter who said he wanted to help LGBT people assess scholarship opportunities in the West, a venture that is noble.

Except that he refused to release further details to me. He wouldn’t even tell me the name of such scholarships neither would he give me web links to verify them before I pass the information around to interested members of the community. What he was selling did not pass the smell test, to be honest, and you know what they say: “If it quacks like a duck…”

Look, I am not saying that this particular person is involved in anything sinister, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Nigeria is a mess and that is even putting it mildly, and for LGBT people, it is a dangerous mess. And so, many people leap at any opportunity to leave the country. But be careful, guys. A lot of crazy shit happens in the world out there. People are taken out of the country and their internal organs are harvested to be sold on the black market. People are forced into sexual slavery. People are used as drug mules. All that glitters is not always gold. I believe that as a gay man, one of the best gifts you have is intuition; most of the time, it warns you of impending danger but we often do not listen. If the opportunity presented to you for a chance to leave Nigeria makes you uneasy, then I recommend that you do not explore it. Many of these people know that LGBT Nigerians are desperate to leave this country, and so they exploit this desperation.

Just be careful.

XOXO

DM

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6 Comments

  1. Dunder
    June 06, 08:08 Reply

    Jeezus!!! What a read first thing in the morning! I used to think that one needs to be greedy to be a victim of such criminality but apparently it is just as easy to lure the desperate.

    Years ago as we were being cleared for a flight to Cairo, there were these two teenage looking Hausa boys who barely spoke pidgin but were being flown out by an “expat”. All they had on them were their clothes, rubber sandals and a half empty bottle of water- no luggage, no toiletries, no vests underneath their oversized shirts, NOTHING. They could barely communicate with their sponsor but the childish excitement on their faces was impossible to miss. They didn’t have the Zen mien of drug peddlers- they were even too talkative to be useful in that sense. The sponsor concerned me the most because he himself looked like he needed a sponsor. When asked, the boys claimed they were going to “work” for him and he was their boss- some guy that looked like he laid bricks for a living. I am almost burst out laughing but the official who had probably heard every cock and bull story in the book, wished them a safe journey.

    The entire thing did not sit well with me- these were young boys who did not treat their sponsor like a boss but like a friend/ savior/ dream come true- I’m sure they were not heading off to be domestic helps for a guy they could barely communicate with who would not even furnish them with socks for a long flight. Did they even know to which country in the abroad they were headed? They probably did not know what names were on the passports he was holding for them. When they finally get missing in Cairo, who do their parents call? The guy who probably threw out his sim card before we boarded or the one that recruited them from some slum with tales of paradise before handing them over to him? Would they be allowed to call home? Would they be paid for their “work”? How would they escape when everyone around spoke Arabic and they, Hausa? Would they walk into a police station and not be shot in the back for “trying to escape” or would they be tried and sentenced for some sex acts?

    Even when we don’t see anything good in our present situation or in ourselves, some sinister people may see in us something useful so as the elders say, even while shedding tears, we must never stop seeing. Evil needs just a few minutes of being unsure or a wrong turn to have us cornered. For people hunted down like we are, fear and scrutiny can be such precious gifts. I wish your friend a speedy recovery psychologically and otherwise. At least, he survived. Aye ma le o…

    • Mandy
      June 06, 08:38 Reply

      My God. This your comment was such a depressing thing to read. 🙁

    • soty
      June 08, 18:30 Reply

      Owwww this your comment just made me had a rethink of letting friends elope with a so called activist who sends people abroad for sex trade
      I really feel the message of both stories

  2. Mandy
    June 06, 08:36 Reply

    Desperation can do things to a Nigerian, especially when it involves getting out of this country. Is it not the news that Nigerians steady pay to get into foreign countries through very risky transport means, like getting stowed away in ships and trekking to deserts. *shudder* This country makes one think anything is worth it just to get out of it.

  3. Doe-Eyed Monster
    June 09, 14:29 Reply

    Hmm… This is what I am telling a friend who met someone not up to three months ago and he is already having his visa processed for him…. Told him it doesn’t sit well with me… But he said he will be fine. What more can I do?

    • sammybhaws
      September 17, 00:32 Reply

      you can do more please, sit his ass down and give him a lecture!! is he dumb with all these trafficking stories flying everywhere? After watching a superstory (Itohan), i was determined not to travel stupidly, waited patiently until my was legit and i left!!

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