Hello guys, I want to really appreciate this wonderful platform on what it’s doing. I think that as a community, we should spread the word about Kito Diaries, because there’s a lot to learn from this place.
My story is one I hadn’t really summoned the courage to share before until now. That is because I believe I’m past it and it’s time to let it go.
It started with my first time using Grindr in Nigeria. I’d never known before then what a kito experience was. I came to Nigeria for holidays and I re-downloaded Grindr to see what the game was like. I was all about making new friends because I had like only two queer friends in Nigeria. So I jumped to Grindr and was doing a thorough review of profiles and looking for those in my age gap so we could meet up and chat and nothing more.
Then I got this message from a Michael. I responded. He told me he wanted to be friends with me and all that, and I was like “Oh cool. That’s what I’m also looking forward to having.” We exchanged contacts (his number was 08168851668) and he told me he wasn’t on WhatsApp, so we could only make calls. I said fine no problem. This was my second day in Nigeria, and he was the one who began calling intermittently on that day for us to chat idly. The next day, I asked him why he was always calling. I wanted to know if he didn’t have anything he was doing to keep him occupied during the day. I told him I was a student on holiday, and what about him. He said he was a bank worker on leave, and that he’d like us to meet up, probably at a bar or something. I told him I was busy because I was looking for a place to do my holiday attachment for one month. He told me he knew where I could do it, that I should come with my letter. This quick offer to assist me surprised me a bit. I mean, we’d only known each other for less than 48 hours.
On that day, I had a few errands to run, so I said I could see him briefly after I was done with my errands. And so, I took my letter out with me. My mother wanted to know where I was going, and I told her I was going to see a friend.
Later on, he called and asked where I was at the moment, that he’d been waiting for me. He was about 45 minutes away from where I was taking care of my errand. I’d earlier been rethinking the idea of going to see him, but with his call and his persuasion, I decided to simply get it over with. It wasn’t like he was that far away.
And so, I set off for Iyana School, along LASU Road. (At this point, I want to state that I wish I’d been acquainted with Kito Diaries before this time, because it was on this platform, from reading all the Lagos Kito Stories and the Kito Alerts, that I saw that all that area in Ojo had been blacklisted as well-known areas for setting gay guys up).
Anyway, so I got there and it was a busy thoroughfare. Something about all the mad traffic of vehicles and pedestrians made me hesitate again. I really didn’t want to go on; besides, I could hear my mother’s voice in my head as she told me this morning to come back home as soon as possible.
But instead of heeding my uneasiness and turning back, I called Michael and told him I was there. He said I should pick a bike and tell the bikeman to take me to Rita Street, that someone would pick me up. At this point, I had a weird feeling constrict in my chest. I couldn’t explain it, and because I was totally ignorant to the dangers of gay hookups in Nigeria, again, I ignored it.
When I was dropped at Rita Street, I only had to wait a short while, before a guy walked up to me and told me his boss was taking his bath and had sent him to come take me to meet him. It was in this moment that that weird feeling in my chest began to expand. They say when you look danger in the face, no matter how oblivious you are, something would alert you to its real nature. I was feeling all sorts of triggered, and I instinctively began to step back away from the guy.
I had turned to make a run for it, when five other guys suddenly materialized and had surrounded me. Two of them were thickly built and tall like me. One of them walked up to me and told me that this was a set-up, that I should cooperate otherwise they would deal with me. I started shouting, “Thief, thief!” And the two who were my size reacted by pouncing on me and began to rough me up while attempting to shush me. A couple of passersby called out that they should leave me alone. And one of the guys hissed in my ear that if I should make a sound, they would tell the people that I am gay. I may have been ignorant of the dangers of gay hookups in Nigeria, but even I was aware of the dangers of being tagged gay in Nigeria. Fear seized me up and I kept quiet. Without any response from me, the passersby, who didn’t even seem keen on my matter, walked on by.
My captors bundled me further down the street. They’d already snatched my phone from my hand, and were making all sorts of death threats. I was scared, not of their threats, but of what my mother would say if she got wind of this situation. My mother HATES GAY PEOPLE AND WISHES THEM NOTHING GOOD! Her homophobia was on my mind as I was hustled along with these guys.
We walked through several corners and places within the Rita Street. As we walked, they asked for my ATM card and my wallet. I surrendered my wallet, but fortunately, I didn’t have any of my ATM cards with me. At this time, we were walking past a bunch of children playing ball and some residents puttering about their houses. They watched us warily as we walked past and I could sense their apprehension. Clearly, my companions were bad news, so I didn’t bother shouting for help; that didn’t seem like an option that would end well for me.
We finally got to a place, where they shoved me down to the ground and began to beat me. Their beating was really ineffectual, but I winced and made a lot of noise as though I was in pain. Then they made me open my phone and threatened to call my parents and strip me and record me naked. I had only 2000 naira on me and they collected it, along with my power bank and iPhone charger. One of them saw my shoes and told me to take them off; out of the 2000 naira, they bought a pair of slippers for me. I felt so violated.
They asked me to remove my iCloud password and details from my phone. This was a real pickle for me. I couldn’t give them the password because the iCloud account is shared by every member of my family; besides I’d planned on locking my phone after I was set free. So I lied and told them the phone belonged to my uncle in UK before he passed it over to me. I was hoping to dissuade them from obtaining the password. But these people meant business. They began calling my uncle after identifying his number in the phone; fortunately, he didn’t answer. They beat me some more and almost called my mother. When they were threatening this, I felt like my life was about to come to an end. I knew that I would be finished if they did. I begged them to let me go with my phone, that I would settle them the following day. This provoked them into beating me some more; one of them threatened to tear me apart with broken glass.
All this felt like a horror film to me.
Eventually, we agreed that I would bring 30 grand and my laptop to them the following day in exchange for my phone. Then they beat me some more before giving me N400 to get me home. I went home in tears, necessary for the story I had for my folks about how I was robbed. My family was much too relieved that I was okay to scrutinize my story. And for a long time after that horrifying day, I was traumatized, often waking from nightmares where my assaulters followed me around, asking for their money.
Written by Alkalyner