BLUNTS & CHIMNEY (Utali Ekwensu)

BLUNTS & CHIMNEY (Utali Ekwensu)

PROLOGUE

Many things happen when two or three are gathered with weed and smokes. And I have decided to share some of those experiences, those tea that get spilled in between drags, that side of life that happens when brothers just want to de-stress with a smoke or two.

And today’s episode begins with Utali Ekwensu.

*

I met Chijioke on Grindr (Lol. I mean, what would life as a Nigerian homosexual be without that yellow app? I wonder). After we’d chatted some, he called for us to meet up, but I wasn’t in the mood to go out.

However, later in the evening, I decided to oblige him. I’d become bored from being indoors all day and was now ready to be outside.

We met and he was a vibe. He was smart. That, I think, was what first and strongly drew me to him. It’s not every day you meet someone willing to discuss controversial issues without being close-minded with his views.

Fortunately, he was also a weeder.

We talked about a lot of things, from the basic exchange of information about me and him (I got to find out that he was a doctor in a prestigious university) to religion, Catholicism and patriarchy in Igbo land. We also talked about his thesis for the doctorate he got just before the lockdown. Then we talked about a variety of articles we’d both read.

It was fun being around him. We knew we would be having sex, but it was refreshing to have a wealth of things to talk about besides what role he loved to play and how he liked to fuck.

Eventually, we got a move on with our hookup. We’d been conversing in his car for a few hours, and as the day waned, he turned on the ignition and drove us to the hotel where he’d booked a room for our hookup. On our way to the hotel, he bought some fruits and a lot of pot and spirits; he wanted us to cross-fade (the lingo that defines the high one gets from using both alcohol and weed).

After we finished settling into the hotel room, we took turns to take our baths. I used the bathroom first. While he was having his bath, I was in my jockstrap, busy rolling our joints while sipping from the bottle.

I had rolled about eight blunts by the time he was done. We talked while he dried his body and got into his briefs. Then we went to the bathroom to get high. We didn’t want to smoke the weed in the bedroom, what with the hotel management’s No Smoking rule that was cellotaped to the door. As we relocated to the bathroom, he brought with him a stool while I had the already-wrapped joints, the rizzlar, crusher and lighter all in a dish on one hand and the bottle of vodka in the other.

I closed the bathroom window as he shut the bathroom door. I sat on the closed toilet bowl as he sat on the stool. It was all set to be a real baking session.

With a joint in my mouth, I brought the lighter just close enough to light it. Then I passed the lighter to him and he lit his. As we smoked, we did some more small talk. Then I asked about his exes, if he’d ever dated.

“I’ve only dated one person,” he said. At my look of surprise, he chuckled and said, “I’m kind of a late bloomer. I’d been doing girls all my life, until my early thirties, when I realized I truly liked boys and it was okay. Then I got serious with one guy, and we were together until he got locked up by the police.”

I helped him light his second joint. Boyfriend locked up in prison? This was getting interesting. I could feel major tea headed my way. By this time, we’d finished the vodka, so I went to the room to get the second bottle. As I settled back in the bathroom and took a drag of my joint, I said encouragingly, “So…”

He chuckled again. “Well, since my ex-boyfriend – who I was together with for nearly four years – I’ve only ever hooked up with five guys, including you. In fact, everything I knew about being gay was from Tobi.”

“And Tobi is…”

“My ex-boyfriend,” he said.

“Right.” I nodded. “So what happened to bring about his incarceration?” This was really what I wanted to know about.

There was silence, the type of silence that showed that he was taking his time, thinking about whether to talk about this past or not. I was looking at him, hoping he wouldn’t close up and refuse to give me this tea. Then I handed him the bottle of vodka, going on in my mind like: Nna, biko loosen up. Speak and it shall set you free.

After taking a swig of the vodka, he finally let out a sigh and said, “It’s just that everything that happened is something I am ashamed of.”

“You were ashamed of Tobi?”

“Well, yes. I mean, no. I mean…” He sighed again. “Okay, I suppose I should tell you the story. Have you heard of the guy called Utali Ekwensu?”

I stared at him. Who in the Nigerian gay community hadn’t? You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard of the viral video confession to the murder of the gay guy who went for a hookup in Anambra.

“Yes, I have,” I said, “that guy that killed the hookup that came to see him.”

Chijioke nodded. “Well, Tobi was his right-hand man.”

I wondered if that was the guy who was caught trying to get rid of the body with Utali. Or was it another guy? Were they a gang? I remembered reading a story here on Kito Diaries about a KDian’s interaction with someone who’d hooked up with Utali’s accomplice. Too many thoughts, too many questions…

Calm down, Sage, I told myself. Let the tea flow from the source.

“It wasn’t long after we started dating before I got to find out that Tobi was childhood friends with this notorious scum,” Chijioke began. “Every time I confronted him about his connection to this guy who was so obviously bad news, begging him to break off from associating with him, he would tell me that he was working on it, that he has to sever the relationship quietly otherwise, Utali would kill him.

“My ex was scared of him, so scared of him that he kept the fact that he and I were dating a secret from Utali, because he feared that Utali would target me based on his suspicion that Tobi’s loyalties were divided between me and him.”

Chijioke took a drag before continuing, “Everybody is outraged that he killed this one guy. Well, surprise, surprise, that Utali guy has actually killed at least eight gay guys. The story on this one that he was caught trying to get rid of was that he didn’t settle him on what they agreed on, and that was why he attacked him. Well, he has killed other guys, whether they settled him or not. If you make it out of any meet with him alive, then it was because of Tobi’s stealthy intervention, either by giving you a window to run away or trying to prevent the hookup from happening at all.”

He paused and stayed silent for a few moments, looking anguished. Then he said in a low raspy tone, “I told him. I told him that he should simply cut off from this guy. He would be a free man today if he’d simply listened to me. I even had to threaten breaking up with him just to push him to cut off his ties with Utali.”

Then he looked at me and continued in a steadier voice, “When I threatened to end things with him, he knew I was serious. So he assured me that after one last mission they were planning, he would leave. Unfortunately, it was that last mission that led to his arrest.

“The guy whose body they were trying to get rid off was actually killed a day or so before they were caught. When the altercation happened that led to the guy’s murder, an elderly woman was close by in that farm area. She heard what was happening and hid. She recognized Utali, because of his notoriety in their community. Then she followed them to the ditch where they dumped the body. The woman then reported to the police and they ambushed Utali and the other guy as they tried to bury the body.

“But the day they killed the guy, Tobi had come to see me after the encounter. We had sex and it was good as always. But he was absent. It was as if he was using sex to try to forget something that was on his mind.

“You see, part of the strategy with which Tobi wanted to use to sever his relationship with Utali was to travel away from Anambra for about six months, just long enough to make Utali have no other option but to look to somebody else as his right-hand person.

“Tobi had planned to travel a few days later. So, I thought his absent-mindedness that night was because of his imminent trip. We were together most of those remaining days. He seemed determined to stay indoors, packing his things, staying away from his phone and screening his calls, as he got ready to disappear.

“Then the day before his departure, we were together, lying down, when a call came in. It was Utali. He told Tobi to come over to his side, that it was very urgent. Tobi said okay. But when the call ended, we argued. I told him he shouldn’t go. He was so close to commencing with his plan to cut this guy off. Why would he want to risk it by seeing him this close to his departure? He assured me that nothing would happen. Besides, he had to act like everything was still normal between them up until he disappears from Utali’s life. I didn’t like it. I told him. He didn’t listen. He went to meet Utali – and got arrested. That bloody fucker had already been caught by the police, and he decided to snitch on his gang members. The call basically lured Tobi to a trap. We hadn’t even seen the video that was going viral, so we didn’t know what was going on, otherwise, I’m sure Tobi would not have ventured out to see him.”

Phew! What a story, I thought as I rolled the remaining weed.

“I have so many questions,” I said.

He laughed. “I’m sure you do. Hit me.”

“Well, are they still in police custody? What prison are they in? Did you go to see Tobi after he was arrested? Is that Utali guy even gay? Were you that in love with Tobi that it took you more than two years of knowing about his association with a criminal before you could resolve to give him the ultimatum of choosing between you and Utali?”

Even as I bombarded him with the questions, I could now understand the shame he talked about in the beginning. And I wondered if I’d come off as judgmental with my last question.

“I only visited Tobi once, about three months after the arrest,” Chijioke replied. “And I was probably the only person to ever visit him there. I couldn’t bring myself to go back there after that one time. I was so mad at him for bringing this upon himself. I’d been warning him for two years – even that morning he left to go see Utali. And he just wouldn’t listen to me. I didn’t entirely buy that excuse about him fearing that Utali would kill him. I just think being part of Utali’s life of crime was simply easier. And yet, for all his loyalty to him, it didn’t take Utali much to betray him.

“When I went to see him, he looked like a shadow of himself. When he saw me, he broke down in tears. He could not talk. I told him that this visit would be my last. He’d been calling me from the cell since he was arrested, and so, I told him to stop calling me. He wasn’t just an accomplice. He was a criminal too. He’d been part of those who killed a human being. His absent-mindedness that evening we had sex had started making sense to me. I told him he deserved what he was going through.”

He drank some more vodka, before seeming to remember that I’d asked other questions. “And yes, Utali is gay as fuck. Dude is even a power bottom. There was this guy in Awka who used to handle him. The guy must have been really good at fucking him, because he was one of the few who came and went without harm. Sometimes, the guys who he hooked up with simply had to satisfy him, otherwise he would kito them.”

“How did you know about the Awka guy?” I asked.

“When Tobi told me about how he often tried to stop some of Utali’s hookups, I began doing the same. Whenever I heard Tobi talking about someone who’d be coming to see Utali and it sounded like he wasn’t going to do anything to stop it, I would steal the number of the person from his phone and call them to warn them. Some of the people I called would still visit despite what I told them. Others heeded and stayed away. In fact, a few of them called me after Utali’s video went viral to thank me for saving them.

“One of the numbers I stole from Tobi belonged to the Awka guy. I called to warn him, and he responded by bragging that he knows what Utali does and that Utali would never dream of doing that to him, because, in his words, ‘street pass street,’ and he was the only man who can satisfy Utali. ‘Ike Utali bu nkem,’ he said.”

(Translation: Utali’s ass is mine.)

We smoked some more before Chijioke continued, “It was hard for me to quit on Tobi because he was my first. Like I said, before him, I didn’t even know I liked boys. He taught me everything about what it was to be gay. I came to enjoy being homosexual because of him. I didn’t know there were a whole lot of other people like me. I might be a doctorate holder in a very good university, but I was very ignorant in matters of sexual orientation.”

“And yes,” he added, “they are still in custody, last I checked. The case is yet to go to court. But I heard they might start the trial this December.”

(PS: This hookup – and conversation – with Chijioke happened in November last year.)

I was astonished. How could the murder not yet be a court case? “This thing happened in April,” I said, “and you’re telling me they’re yet to be tried?”

He shrugged. “That’s Nigeria for you. Justice comes very slowly to the people who deserve it.”

I sighed. Then I looked down at the dish to see that we’d exhausted all the joints. The second bottle of vodka was almost finished. I was on a proper high. My body was doing me tinini-tanana, and all I wanted to do now was fuck.

Chijioke got the hint, and stood up. We returned to the bedroom and proceeded to have mind-blowing sex. Whether it was the catharsis that came from his unburdening or the high of mixing alcohol with weed or he was simply a sex god… Whatever it was, this nigga fucked me like a demon.

*

EPILOGUE

As I am writing this and reminiscing about that night in the hotel room, one thing stands out in my mind.

The human heart is desperately wicked.

To be gay and have the heart to kill people like you is just the wickedest of things to be.

To be friends since childhood with a person who you can’t tell when he is fucking up because they might harm you has got to be the most fucked-up situation to be in.

Day after day, I keep confronting the reality that Nigeria is a cesspit with no value for human life; a shithole where murder is justified with something as flimsy as gay panic, a whole society working together to devalue the life of its queer minority even more than it normally devalues other lives.

It is sad. It is fucked up. And sometimes, you just need a little blunt to get through knowing how much it sucks.

Written by Sage Philip

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  1. Pezaro
    January 18, 09:20 Reply

    *shudders*
    So the Utali of a guy is gay too? I’m struggling to process this. How do you kill people you fuck with?
    How do you even get down with someone who kills people of your kind?
    This is the height of wickedness, can God just forgive Satan already, and concentrate on Utali Ekwensu 😩😩😩

    • Ken
      January 18, 15:34 Reply

      Most people who harm gay people often turn out to be gay themselves. It’s the hatred they have for the part of them they can’t control, that the pour out on the unsuspecting gay victims.
      And it’s not peculiar to Nigeria

  2. Tony
    January 18, 11:11 Reply

    There is this guy I met on Nairaland when we wrote University of Ibadan Post Utme. He is light skinned. I think his name is Kelvin. We didn’t get admitted that year. The following year, he applied for UNN and got admitted to UNN to study Dentistry. I think in 2015 or 2016, a queer friend in UNN who were mutual told me they have been looking for him.

    Till now, 2021, he is yet to be found. This is trying to connect. Utali has killed eight gay men? He might be one. Because according to this our mutual, this guy was a hoe in UNN and goes to meet everyone. I am not trying to blame him. But it’s sad.

    • Pink Panther
      January 18, 11:23 Reply

      I can’t even imagine the many missing persons who are gay, whose disappearance have to do with a hookup gone bad and their lives lost. They just go to see someone, get killed and disappear from the world that knows them. It’s so disheartening.

      • Tony
        January 18, 11:34 Reply

        It’s killing and my emotions is running wild right now. I’m literally shivering whenever I bump into his Facebook profile. Especially during his birthdays.

  3. Mandy
    January 18, 12:06 Reply

    I wish we knew the name of the guy Utali Ekwensu. These victims can’t just remain numbers or statistics or faceless figures. They are people. Somebody’s children and siblings and loved ones. They had lives and hopes and dreams… Before the wickedness of homophobia cut them down.

    I wish we knew his name, their names so we can say it.

  4. Tristan
    January 18, 12:16 Reply

    Jeez! This is scary and. We all have to be careful abeg

  5. Lopez
    January 18, 13:44 Reply

    This is really sad. A serial killer within this very community that knows no rights whatsoever at all. Really sad. I hope he never comes out of that jail again.

  6. Ken
    January 18, 15:42 Reply

    They say murder is addictive, after the first kill it’s easy to normalize and even enjoy taking a human life. Which is why y’all need to be careful. Jumping from pillar to post is totally fun,…till u dead! Why not stay safe and masturbate y’all. No disease, no drama and no sneaky murdering bastard!

    Anyhooo, RIP to the dead.

  7. McDuke
    January 18, 22:25 Reply

    I’m just mad reading this..and this guy that narrated this to you has a doctorate degree? Shame on him…a big shame to him. How can he even in the slightest way associate himself with such evil…first kill him there. He knew such crimes are being committed against his likes and encouraged it (yes he did, cos he did nothing, absolutely nothing). How can you be sleeping with a devil, someone that committed murder and was still in the mood to have sex…tufia #beasts

  8. Mickey
    January 18, 23:41 Reply

    This is the first time I have heard or read about this story of tragedies,this gay is a serial killer reminding me of Jeffrey dahmer also a serial killer from the late 70s to the early 90s or so in the United states. I was really shaken by this story.
    I just can’t believed this happened im Nigeria and the other guy tobi is also a terrible person. I know the kind of people I hang out with talk less of a killer and some one that kitos other gays like you. I’m not a fan of using some words but I hope they die and rot in hell.

  9. S.Freude
    January 19, 02:25 Reply

    Where is Higwe? (Been tryna get across to you.)

    • Tariq
      January 20, 17:22 Reply

      Been meaning to ask this buh decided against it….

      Higwe a regular commenter (I noticed him on my posts cos his comments r usually blunt n attack-ish🙄)

      I hope he’s well though…

      Lights n love!

  10. Hoyeh
    January 20, 20:59 Reply

    My heart breaks reading this story! People are wicked sha.

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