Confronted By The Uniform

Confronted By The Uniform

I still think about this unusual experience I had back in March. It was the oddest encounters I’d ever had and I felt the need to share with you guys.

So, on that hot afternoon in March, I was feeling frustrated from waiting two hours to get inside the bank and have my issue attended to. There was a crowd of people waiting to get inside, and the security was ensuring that the flow of customers in and out of the bank remained sluggish.

Finally, I got tired of hanging around under the hot sun and, at some minutes past two, I decided to leave.

Now, there were some military men with their car close to the shortcut that I wanted to take; I guess they were there for security purposes ahead of the then-upcoming gubernatorial election. I was trekking down the road and was so lost in thought, that I didn’t notice that I slightly jostled one of the military men with my shoulder while I was crossing the road.

I was already some distance away when I turned back to notice one of them signaling me to come back. I wondered what could possibly be the reason for him wanting to see me, and then I figured that perhaps he wanted to make an enquiry from me or something. I was also suddenly scared, even though I knew I didn’t have any reason to be. But just the sight of his khaki uniform made me a little terrified; whatever he wanted to see me for must be serious, and serious affairs with members of the Nigerian army was often not pleasant.

When I got to where he was, I greeted him with the meekest tone of voice I could muster. Without acknowledging my greeting, he asked in pidgin if I didn’t notice that I pushed him when I passed him, even with the rifle he had on him. He didn’t sound serious, but I didn’t dare make the mistake of thinking he was joking either.

I smiled politely while answering, “Sorry, sir. I honestly didn’t know I pushed you.”

He lifted his brows at me in exaggerated surprise, and then said, “So you dey smile, dey speak English for me, abi? You wan show me say you go school.”

Me that is a Secondary School dropout, I thought sardonically while listening to him.

“I dey ask you something for pidgin,” he was still talking, “and you dey respond with English. You no fit speak pidgin?” Then he turned to his colleague, who was sitting in the car, watching us, and said, “Abeg put this boy for truck, make we carry am go barrack.”

Slight alarm shot up my spine. He couldn’t be serious, could he?

I immediately burst out in rapid pidgin: “Officer, abeg! Abeg o! I dey sorry, abeg. Forgive me abeg.”

Both men shared a chuckle, before the one sitting in the car said, “Why you come dey form say you no sabi speak Pidgin English?”

I replied, telling him that I couldn’t communicate fluently in Pidgin, but that I was making the effort to master it. He asked me what state I am from. I told him Enugu.

“And yet, you dey form like say you from oversea come,” he said jocularly.

I risked a laugh in response and said that I wasn’t forming.

Then, out of nowhere, like a sucker punch to the solar plexus, he asked, “Are you gay?”

I was shocked. In that moment, my whole system shut down. I froze outwardly, but inwardly, my neurons were firing off helter-skelter. A thousand thoughts flashed through my brain in seconds that felt like ages, and my legs began to tremble. I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. After a few microseconds, I tried again. This time, I found my voice and said, “No.” I swallowed hard to clear the hoarseness from it, before attempting to speak again, this time asking him why he’d asked.

He said that I looked and talked so feminine and that he was certain that I was either gay or bisexual. I told him that not all effeminate guys are gay, and that even though some people have told me about my feminine looks, it didn’t necessarily mean I was gay.

As I was talking, I was praying internally for the ground to open up and just swallow me.

He cocked his head, looking speculatively at me, and then said, “Why you dey look like say you dey fear? I no get problem with you, whether you be gay or not.”

I didn’t know what to say to that, and was still scrambling mentally for a response, when the other one – the one who called me back – said that he too perceived that I was forcing myself to “act like a man”.

“You get girlfriend?” he asked with the beginnings of a smile.

“No,” I said.

“What about boyfriend?” That smile had widened now. His colleague guffawed.

“No,” I said again.

“You don knack before?” he queried again.

I was feeling the hot flush of discomfort flood my insides.

“No,” I answered.

He looked at his colleague, and then both of them looked at me and chorused laughingly, “Na lie!”

I expected this. It was very commonplace for people to doubt me whenever I told them that I’d never had sex. Not with a girl. Not with a boy.

“Even with all this your bear-bear,” the first one said, gesturing at my chin.

“I’m still a small boy o,” I responded.

“Wetin be your age?”

“I’ll be turning twenty-one this year.”

“Hmm,” he said. Then with a shrug, he added, “OK o. Oya na, make you dey go.”

“Thank you, sir,” I said with more feeling than was necessary. “Sorry again for pushing you.”

He waved dismissively at my apology. “No problem.”

“Thank you,” I said again. “Thank you,” I said to his colleague, and then turned and began walking away.

It was a peculiar exchange, and I didn’t know what to make of it. I don’t have friends I can talk to about these things. So, here I am, writing to you, my people.

Written by Joel

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  1. Loki
    June 21, 08:30 Reply

    Oh wow! 😂😂😂
    This is crazy. I was expecting them to ask for your phone and go through it but then..damn! 😂. I wasn’t there, I can’t really try to gauge it but from your description of how he licked his lips when he asked if u were gay, well it’s obvious he was i to u.

    Sha go there again, try and become friends with them, if u can. Who knows u might be able to strike a friendship with uniformed men and in the process get yourself a quick number to call should you ever be in a situation where you need a trusted person to help you put of.

    But that aside you have to be really handsome for policeman to wan toast you for him comrade front ooo😂😂😂😂😂😂😂💔

  2. Wild 🦋
    June 21, 08:34 Reply

    Lmao

    Thank God you said you were straight when your sexuality was questioned because these uniform people can’t be trusted

  3. Fluid
    June 22, 11:55 Reply

    Life of an effeminate gay man, we don suffer for this country, at first glance people just assume we are gay. What would you have us do kwanu, we are the face of the community 😤😤

  4. ken
    June 22, 18:46 Reply

    Dont think too much about it..tis the trauma we have to go thru in naija from time to time. I remember a similar incident happened to me when i was a corper. I drove thru a restricted area in abuja and 2 army officers stopped. After some harassment one said to me that i am lucky, that if we were in his command guys wouldnt waste time before fxxxxxg nonsense from this my round bombom. Highly embarassed, i was.

    • Cephas
      September 02, 21:08 Reply

      That’s sick of him to suggest raping you.

  5. Gbolly
    July 05, 16:22 Reply

    Don’t think too much of it joor.
    It’s funny and odd tho😹.

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