BAD POLICEMEN AND GOOD NIGERIANS (A Kito Story)

BAD POLICEMEN AND GOOD NIGERIANS (A Kito Story)

In October last year, the #EndSARS protests gained national prominence, with Nigerians taking to the streets and social media to loudly condemn police brutality. Among these protesters were also members of the Nigerian LGBTQ community who trended #QueerNigerianLivesMatter with their calls for attention on how the police specifically targets people for such “offenses” like presenting as gay. And to nobody’s surprise and yet everyone’s disappointment, there were yet Nigerians who pushed back at our voices, unwilling to set aside their homophobia to see how our oppression is real.

Here are two experiences that tell the story every gay Nigerian has come to expect and the one we never really see coming.

 

BAD POLICEMEN – by Bright

I met Tony Solomon on Tinder. We chatted for a bit, getting to know each other, and he said he was staying in some cheap hotel in Agungi, bleeding his finances and hoping to get accommodation with someone, someplace temporary he can stay until he figures himself out. He was attractive and I liked him. I flirted with him and he flirted back. So I was encouraged to offer him accommodation, asking him to come over, just as long as his stay wasn’t going to be permanent.

When he came to my place, I opened up to him, letting him know I am gay and that I would love to get down with him. He told me he was straight but had no problems with gay people. This was of course very disappointing to hear, but my attraction for him diminished some, because I really am not a straight chaser. I was still cool with him staying at my place.

And so, for the next several days, I found myself with an impromptu flatmate. We were able to live well together, even started becoming friends. I didn’t mind very much that I had him constantly in my personal space, as long as the understanding was there that it’d be temporary.

There were of course some minor inconveniences. When I agreed to have him in my house, he’d said that he would take care of his feeding. However, during his stay, the responsibility fell squarely on me. I was spending and cooking for both of us, but I didn’t mind at first because he could clean. He would do the dishes and tidy the rooms. So, it felt like a fair trade.

Then the day came when he received some money from someone. He told me about it and I expected that he would contribute the money to our feeding. Instead, he said he wanted to use the money and fix his phone. I was annoyed by this, and got even more so when he returned home that afternoon with his phone fixed, the money apparently spent.

I lost my cool and railed at him over his priorities. So he could afford to fix his phone because he didn’t have to worry about food, right? I told him I could no longer keep him and that he should start thinking seriously about moving out. Then I stormed out of the house and spent the evening out.

However, by the time I came back home that night, I’d calmed down and even felt some contrition over the things I said to him. I apologized to him and told him not to mind what I said about him moving out. He seemed to take it well – so well, in fact, that that night, he came into my room from the parlour where he sleeps, and climbed into the bed with me. And in the middle of the night, he touched me. One thing led to the other and we had sex.

I was both surprised and touched by this turn of events, and by the next morning, any iota of bad feelings I felt for him was completely gone. In fact, just to prove that we were now really good, I went out to the market to buy stuff for my cooking that day.

And when I came home, it was to find Tony Solomon packed and gone.

With my three phones!

He’d stayed with me for two weeks and had decided to pay me back for my hospitality by robbing me.

I was upset. I felt raw with emotions. And for the sake of my business, I needed my phones back. At first, I didn’t know how to reach him; then I remembered that I had copies of his resume, which he gave me to help him pass around, in case anyone I knew would be interested in hiring him. His number was on the resume. I involved my friends and we began calling him, but once he heard that it was relating to me, he’d hang up.

Then a female friend of mine chatted him up and he communicated right back. He told her that I am a “bloody gay” and that he was going to out me. He mentioned the name of some platform that I forget now. He said he just wanted to teach me a lesson, which was the reason why he took my phones. That he wasn’t going to use the phones and that if we want them back, we should pay him 50 thousand naira. My friend bargained with him, eventually getting him to accept 35 thousand naira. He said that when he receives the money, he would send the phones back to me through an uber. My friend sent him the money…

And he blocked her!

Clearly, this guy wasn’t about playing nice. So, I decided to explore other drastic alternatives. Another friend linked me to a police unit whose job is to track people. We met with their boss, and he said the price is 50 thousand naira. We would pay him, and as long as the guy’s phone is on, they could track him to wherever he is. This meeting happened on a Thursday. I paid. And they went to work.

On Saturday, they called me to inform me that they’d caught Tony Solomon, and they were taking him to a station in Ikeja. They’d also retrieved my phones from him.

Feeling overjoyed, I set off for Ikeja with my friend and her boyfriend – only to get there to face a different situation. Tony Solomon had apparently been lamenting to the policemen that I am gay, and that when he was staying with me, I molested him repeatedly. There was no evidence of any sexual assault, but all he had to show them were our chats, which revealed my sexuality, for them to believe his story and detain me.

Next thing I knew, I was being treated as a criminal, on the receiving end of verbal abuse and threats. At some point in the ensuing fracas, Tony Solomon disappeared; they’d apparently released him. The police said that if I didn’t want to spend the rest of the weekend in the cell, I should pay the sum of 200 thousand naira. My friends helped me put the money together to secure my release. Then the police told me to return on Monday to properly close the case.

On Monday, I went back to the station. Believing that the same instruction had been given to Tony Solomon, I was surprised to find that he wasn’t there. When I enquired about him, if they were going to arrest him for theft, the policeman in charge “advised” me to let it go; that if I insist on pursuing the case against him, his claims that I molested him and my homosexuality would make things very difficult for me.

It was very painful, being the person who was wronged and then getting victimized on top of it. But I took my L and tried to move on. A couple of my friends chatted Tony Solomon up on Tinder, and he peddled the same sob story he told me to them – that he is broke and in need of accommodation. My friends intended to lure him into a trap and beat him up, but I was trying to move on and told them to let it go.

We even learned that Tony Solomon used to stay in Abuja and fled from there when he stole from a community member there, someone with enough connections to deal ruthlessly with him. So he relocated to Lagos where he is now looking for suckers he can freeload off of and victimize.

And so, I owe it to my community to let y’all know that this guy is not to be trusted or allowed into your home. He’s still out there on Tinder, looking for who to use his biracial good looks and sob stories to hoodwink. Beware.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Click HERE to see more information about Tony Solomon.

 

***

 

GOOD NIGERIANS – by Igar

I met Benjamin Michael on Grindr. From there, we started getting to know each other on WhatsApp. We exchanged Facebook information, and I got to check him out. I live in Owerri, and he told me he’d just relocated to Port Harcourt from Enugu. He said he had a shop and lives alone, and that he just wants to make friends. He said he’d been kitoed twice before, and so, he was very wary about meeting people. He expressed his hope that I’m genuine because he likes me and would really love to get to know me well.

I fell for his story. It was so disarming, how he presented himself as a victim to gain my sympathy and make me not think of him as potential danger.

I was on a month-long leave of absence from work, and I figured I could go see him. We scheduled to meet on a Sunday, a few days after first meeting on Grindr, and because the idea was for me to spend the night with him, I left Owerri by 4 PM. It was very difficult locating his place at Oyigbo, and when I finally met him, it was around 7:30 PM. (I now believe that he made it deliberately difficult for me to find him earlier, because they needed the cover of darkness to accomplish what they had in mind for me.)

He came to meet me with a bike man, and we drove off to what was presumably his house. However, as we weaved in and out of bush paths, I began to worry that something was amiss. By the time the bike man pulled up before an uncompleted building, I instantly knew that this was a kito setup.

Before I could think of reacting to the situation, two other guys emerged from the building and surrounded me. The bike man appeared to be in on it, because they thanked him before he drove off. First thing they did was to take my phone from me. Then they dragged me into the building where they started beating me. However, whenever I cried out, they hushed me, commanding me to shut up. I quickly got the impression that they didn’t want to draw any attention to their nefarious activity, because even at that time, the environment was still alive with pedestrians and home owners who were outside.

I was stripped down to my briefs and singlet, and they did their best to video me in the dark, admitting that I am a homosexual. Then they took the money I had on me. next, they forced me to open my phone and haf every intention of draining my bank account – but here was when my Guardian Angel began pulling strings in my favour.

Firstly, so much noise had been made harassing me, that someone’s attention was finally gotten. A male passerby called out from the road, demanding to know who was in the building. They responded that they were here to set traps for animals, which was ironically exactly what they did.

They must have figured that the man – or someone else – may decide to come into the building to investigate what was going on, because they decided to relocate the base of their Operation Kito Igar. I was made to hurriedly put my clothes back on, and then we jumped out through a window. They started leading me down a pathway, past houses, to wherever they’d have enough privacy to deal with me. They were actually threatening me as we went, saying that if I see the next day, let their mothers die.

My heart was beating rapidly as I fought back panic; I was realizing now that this would likely not end up a mere kito case. I could lose my life tonight.

One of them was ahead of me, and the other two were behind. They were moving like we were all just friends out for a stroll, but one of the two behind me held my shirt to prevent me from escaping.

Then I saw a hefty, middle-aged man seated in front of his house, obviously taking in the fresh evening air.

This was my chance! I told myself that it was now or never!

So, I knocked off the hold that guy had on me and rushed toward the man. I got to him and held him, hysterical, begging him to save me from the guys who wanted to kill me. My captors had come after me, and the man immediately rose in my defence, blocking them from me. Fracas erupted as they began raising their voices, with the man pushing them back and ushering me into the safety of his house. He wanted to know what the matter was, but the guys kept on insisting that this wasn’t his business and that he should bring me out and hand me back to them. The man refused.

After some argument, they finally told him that I lived with one of them in Owerri, but then I ran away with his laptop, clothes and other valuables, that they lured me to Port Harcourt to make me pay back what I stole.

It felt like a Jesus-Pharisees-Pilate situation, because then, the man came inside to meet me and asked me what happened. I explained that I met one of them (Benjamin Michael) online in a WhatsApp group of friends, and he told me he’d just relocated to Port Harcourt and needed help with settling down. And since I was on leave, I decided to visit him. I maintained that before that day, I didn’t know and hadn’t met any of them.

Amazingly, the man believed me. He went back outside and told them to go and come back the next day. Meanwhile, they still had my phone and bag. They refused, insisting that I be released to them. The man, upon realizing that they outnumbered him, began to holler for his neighbours and soon, a small crowd of people had gathered. One of them even came along with the head of the local vigilante, a man I would soon discover was feared by many in the community. Benjamin and his friends were ordered to hand over my bag and phone, and Benjamin, angry over how the tables had turned on them, smashed my phone on the ground, ruining the screen.

As this commotion was going on, one of them (who turned out to be Benjamin’s brother) took the Vigilante man aside and told him that I was a homosexual, urging him to release me to them so they can deal with me.

You would think that this would be were the tides would then turn on me. But no, my Guardian Angel was working overtime. The Vigilante man came to see me and told me what they said. He seemed very concerned for me, and when he asked me in an understanding tone for the truth, I told him everything.

When I finished, he asked, “What do you want? If you want, I will take all of you to the station where that guy who broke your phone screen will be forced to pay for the repair. If you want that, I will make it happen. But if we take this matter to the station, you’ll be detained and things could get so messy, you’ll also end up paying lots of money before you’ll be free. So, what do you want?”

I was being given a choice. To the best of my knowledge, no gay Nigerian had ever been given a choice whenever they find themselves in a situation where their lives and welfare are threatened. We are demonized and dealt accordingly with, with no room for us to defend ourselves or assert our human rights. The fact that this man was asking me what I wanted drew tears to my eyes.

I chose to go with my damaged phone.

So he went back out and told the guys that the case was closed, that they won’t be getting me. In fact, it seemed that Benjamin and his gang had some notoriety in the community, because when the Vigilante man brought me out, some women began telling me that I was lucky because those boys would have killed me the way they were known to have killed two other boys in the past.

The Vigilante man took me to his house where I spent the night. And the next morning, he gave me two thousand naira for my transport fare back home.

When I fixed my phone screen, I discovered that when they had my phone, the kito scum had tried to get into my WhatsApp and Facebook, no doubt to cause some ruin to my life since they weren’t getting what they expected from setting me up. But their attempts were unsuccessful because I lock my apps with a different password from the one I use to lock my phone, the latter password which they got to know when they made me unlock my phone.

I am very lucky that I escaped with my life and everything else intact. I am grateful that my kito story did not end as badly as most do, and this experience taught me that there are still good people in Nigeria, good people who do not let their biases overshadow their humanity when it comes to defending one’s freedom.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Click HERE to see more information about Benjamin Michael.

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8 Comments

  1. CHUCK
    April 15, 10:09 Reply

    Please where are the stories where the kito gang is caught and killed? Who here has svccessfully avenged kito crimes ?

  2. Demi
    April 15, 12:45 Reply

    My God, I actually think those mofos would have killed igar.. Honestly I’m scared.. Thinking of those that have fallen in those guys trap saddens me, and possibly others might, as not a lot of guys read KD.. We have to find solutions to these things and fast because its not funny at all..

  3. DarkQuinn
    April 15, 14:04 Reply

    You better allow your friends beat the hell outta that yellow goat called Tony…. That’ll instill some fear in his body … And we get to have one up on them kito bastards

  4. Dark Conversationz
    April 15, 21:20 Reply

    I was unlucky to get into this bastards trap in porthacourt. Nearly ruined my life and destroyed my career. Made away with 200k from my family.

  5. Raymond
    April 16, 18:29 Reply

    😭😭😭
    This country is fucking messed up.
    I’m sure we have hefty and strong queer guys in the community, why not let’s take things jungle. Lets have Defenders of the kitoed who will go get those kitoes and teach them lessons.

  6. Dunder
    April 16, 22:36 Reply

    Mr Tony Solomon… What a piece of shit. Don’t worry Bright. It’s a tough lesson you learned but it will come in handy in future when worse temptations present themselves.

    I am so glad Igar survived the ordeal and still enjoyed the kindness of strangers that may have eluded him within a gated community. Silver linings do exist.

    Stay safe everyone.

  7. Wiffey
    April 17, 13:02 Reply

    As a precautionary measure in the first story. Always store your contacts on your Google account and keep a cloud based service to backup all important data on your phone.
    Please always make sure your phone is heavily passworded, you can never be too careful about who has access to your life.

    Secondly, I strongly recommend that the moment your phone is no longer in your possession, immediately find the nearest android phone, sign into your Google account and remotely lock the phone, in this case the only way your phone can now be access is when the flash it and wipe it clean of any memory. For extra precautions Google gives you the option to erease your phone memory once you’ve locked it.

  8. McDuke
    April 18, 14:17 Reply

    I can’t with you guys anymore…. honestly stories like this drive me crazy. Not trying to make light of the crime of these monsters but who still travels to pay someone a visit at this time and age in Nigeria with no backup plan for safety or even doing a background check. How less do you value your life??? Like how foolish and careless can you be??? Guys let’s be smarter….we can do better….these m**daf**kers ain’t stopping any soon…the security agencies and the govt don’t give a damn about us. It is on you and you alone to guard and protect yourself…let’s stop being foolish by meeting people recklessly…unless you don’t value your life…even after this, tomorrow we’ll still get another story like this…smh. Sad…just sad…

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