I’d just moved to Lagos and I was ready to explore the city in all the ways I could. It was my second time staying alone (NYSC was the first) and so, I had all the freedom I’d ever dreamed of – free to stay out late and sleep over wherever I wanted to. I had a few friends in Lagos and I wanted to make more lesbian friends. So I turned to Tinder. I was able to make a few connections with some girls. We chatted and talked on phone.
At this point in my stay in Lagos, I was naïve, very naïve. Back in Port Harcourt, I never used Tinder to pick up girls. I already had a circle of friends and hooking up was pretty easy, because there was always someone who knew someone who was single or just looking to hook up.
Lagos was different. I had mostly straight friends here and so, I had to rely on Tinder. It wasn’t long before I met this girl, Christabel. We moved our acquaintanceship from Tinder to WhatsApp. We talked on phone sometimes. It was all going well. I liked her because she was pretty and all I wanted from her was sex.
So one Friday, after work, I got home to my normal Friday ritual of drink and movies, when I got a message from Christabel asking what I was up to. I said nothing much, that I was just home. She asked if I wanted to come over and I said sure. I just couldn’t turn down free pussy. So I abandoned my movie and drinks; I thought of going over with my laptop but later decided against it.
This was 9pm-ish. She told me her father owned a hotel at Oshodi and that we would be staying there. So I took along with me a little bag with my nightwear and chartered a cab. She gave me a number to call, saying it was a staff at the hotel, and that he would direct me. I called the number. The guy who answered directed me as best as he could, and I finally set off on this journey by 10pm. From the island o!
Before I left however, I messaged one of my besties. I told her I was going to see a babe at Oshodi, and she asked if it wasn’t too late for that. But the konji in me told her no. Then I laughed and said to her, “What’s the worst that can happen?” And I added that if she didn’t hear from me by 11, she should call the police. This was really just banter and we laughed over it.
On my way to my destination, it started raining heavily. I remember that at some point, I considered that the rain might be a sign for me to go back, but I shrugged it off and kept on. We got to a point at Oshodi and we got lost. The taxi driver was an elderly Yoruba man who looked pissed over being dragged to that place by that time. I kept on calling the staff guy for directions; at some point, he asked us to wait somewhere so he could come meet us. We waited. The guy came and with him in the cab, we soon got to the hotel. I paid the driver and went in with the guy.
He took me to a room and said Christabel would be with me soon. The room was disgusting as fuck! The toilets looked like they hadn’t been used in years and I couldn’t even lie on the bed because, with its cheap sheets, it looked like it was a breeding ground for bed-bugs. I simply perched on the edge of the bed. Noticing my discomfort, my companion said I shouldn’t mind the place, that they were undergoing some renovations and that when Christabel comes, she would take me to the other hotel. Then he asked if I needed anything to drink or eat. I told him no. He left the room and I was alone. I called Christabel she said I should relax, that she would soon be there.
After about fifteen minutes, the door swung open and the staff guy came back into the room with another man. The next thing I heard – from the newcomer – chilled my blood.
“Na you dey find Christabel, abi? So you be lesbian!”
My heart instantly began shredding into a million pieces, even as it was beating fast. When I’m stressed or I’m confronted with something unreal, my instinctive reaction is to laugh or chuckle. And this was what I did in that moment. Clearly not expecting that reaction, they stopped and stared at me.
Feeling like I had to say something to diffuse the threat coming at me, I started telling them of how I’d just moved to Lagos and how I’d been looking to make friends. That I met Christabel online and so we decided to hangout and go clubbing that night. That it doesn’t make me a lesbian.
One of them responded that I want to use their head and demanded for my phone. I had two phones, one clean and the other dirty. The dirty phone was locked. He gave it back to me to unlock. My hands were shaking so bad as I unlocked the phone and I used that to my advantage, using my terror to mask my mission as I swiftly went to my WhatsApp and deleted my chat with Christabel and the one I’d just had with my bestie. I deleted some other incriminating chats and then turned off my data. Then I handed it over. They were busy with the clean phone as I did all this. They of course didn’t find anything in the clean phone, and now, there was also nothing for them to find in the once-dirty phone.
Frustrated, one of them brought out a phone and opened to a WhatsApp chat before brandishing it in my face, asking if that wasn’t me. I squinted at the contact and seeing that Christabel hadn’t saved my name correctly, I said that of course that wasn’t me, that it wasn’t even my name.
At this point, the guy who came to pick me up with the taxi left the room, and I was left with the one he brought back into the room. This one was light-skinned and tatted. He looked at me and said, “You dey fuck girls, abi? I go deal with you!” I told him he was wrong and that that wasn’t true. He said he would slap me if I said another word and that they would take me to the police station. He said Christabel was caught with a girl and that right then, she was in police custody and that her parents had to pay 500k to bail her out. As he said this, I thought about when exactly this Christabel was caught, considering I spoke to her like twenty minutes ago before these guys burst into the room.
With my phones in his hand, he threatened that he was going to call my father. My parents’ contacts weren’t saved on my phone, so I wasn’t fazed by that threat. Then he instructed me to strip off my clothes and say that I am a lesbian. I laughed again and told him I would rather go to the police station than do that.
At this point, the other guy came in and he left. As he began to talk, it began to look like they were playing a “good guy, bad guy” routine on me. This one sounded like he wanted us to reason together, like he only wanted to help me get out of a sticky situation in the best possible way. He said the police were already outside the hotel waiting for me to come out, that I should just settle them so that they would sneak me out through the back. I told him that they were accusing me falsely and that there was nothing on my phone to incriminate me and that I wouldn’t mind going to the station. I reiterated that I only met Christabel online because I needed friends in Lagos. I added that I was a writer, and that sometimes I get into character to tell a story, and that I was actually doing research for a story at the moment. He asked me if I was Igbo. I said yes. He said he was Igbo too. He said if he had known I was Igbo, he would have warned me when he came to pick me up, that I should stop playing smart and just give them money so they can let me go.
My heart was still racing hard but I tried to keep my cool. I asked him how much. He said 200 grand. I laughed and told him I didn’t have that kind of money. The other guy – the ‘bad’ guy – came back in and began fuming about how disrespectful I was to him earlier. I said I was like that because he’d asked me to strip.
The ‘good’ guy then pulled him aside to talk to him. He sounded like he was trying to secure my release. And the next thing, the ‘bad’ guy was shouting, “You don fuck am, abi? You don fuck am! She don open leg for you now, na why you dey talk rubbish!”
I was shivering as I watched them, finally left on my own to be able to focus on the many thoughts running rampant through my mind. What if these guys decide to rape me or beat me or do both and dump my body somewhere? I was so very scared but I tried to mask it.
The ‘bad’ guy stomped out of the room and once again, I was alone with the ‘good’ guy. He told me the ‘bad’ guy was from Edo and that his father is a high ranking man in the police force, and that they were actually police officers under cover. He then asked me to give them 100 grand.
As we were still talking, the ‘bad’ guy came back to the room with a uniformed policeman in tow. Seeing them caused my heart to surge into another fast beat. The ‘bad’ guy snatched my bag and asked where the dildo was. I said I didn’t have any dildo. He emptied my bag and didn’t find any dildo. But they found some money in my bag. (I don’t want to mention the amount because I’ll just cry). They didn’t touch the money but they held on to my bag.
Then the ‘good’ guy started negotiating with the other two on my behalf and they finally settled on 60 grand. I just wanted to get everything over with and go home to my bed. I agreed to the 60 grand and the ‘good’ guy offered to take me to the ATM. They took me out through the back gate because, according to them, the police van was in the front. The ATM was very slow. I spent like thirty minutes withdrawing 60 grand. I gave him the money and my bag was returned to me. Then he hailed a cab for me and I left.
It was when I was on Third Mainland Bridge that I remembered to check my bag for my money and it wasn’t there. I’d recently gone on a trip outside the country and returned with some currencies in the bag, and I forgot to move them out of the bag. It was a costly mistake that I’ve had to make my peace with. I went home and curled myself on the bed. I was shivering and kept going over what had just happened over and over in my mind, wondering if it’d really happened or if I’d just watched a bad movie.
Fortunately for me, they didn’t take my phones. I put my data back on and messages from my bestie instantly began dropping in, messages asking how the fuck was going (lol). I called her and told her something horrible had happened and that I would tell her the next day. Then I dropped my phone and went back to shaking in my bed. It was almost 2 am at this time, and I cried myself to sleep.
It was a very traumatizing experience, and I spent the rest of my weekend indoors, trying to recover from it. I didn’t even see the colour of the sky until Monday. While I was recuperating indoors, I composed a broadcast message with all the details of what I went through and sent out to my friends, and they rebroadcast it as well. Then I heard from another one of my friends that she was communicating with the same Christabel. Upon getting my message, she blocked her immediately. I got lots of sympathy calls and messages from friends and that really comforted me. It didn’t take away the sting of the bad experience but I felt comforted.
Remember I asked my friend: “What’s the worst that can happen?”
Well, the worst really did happen.
Written by Net