HIS KITO STORY (EDITION 40)

HIS KITO STORY (EDITION 40)

This trauma started with a friendly hello and gradually culminated into tears of anguish.

Any gay man living in Nigeria has either been a victim of kito or knows someone who was. And up until several months ago, I was simply that person who had friends who’d been kitoed. And their experiences gave me the wisdom I thought was necessary to stay out of trouble. But it would seem that sometimes, in this world where bad things happen to good people, you do have to know the pain on a personal level.

*

STANLEY

It was a cool evening. The sun had rolled back into its hiding place, and the atmosphere had a sense of tranquility about it. I was seated in the balcony of my house, observing the world around me and also going through my phone. I was trying to compose a satisfactory caption for a picture I was about to upload on Facebook.

And then, he hit me with a hello. His words were actually “Hello dear”. I didn’t know who he was, even though we were Facebook friends. But I was in the right mood for some flirting, so I played along. I responded with “Hello sweetheart”.

And that was it. We were immediately communicating on the level of two people who were romantically inclined toward each other. I’d gone through his profile, and his pictures looked good. He chatted with an ease and charm that beguiled me. However, it didn’t matter how much I got caught up in the heat of our messaging foreplay, I didn’t let myself get carried away. He was after all someone I really didn’t know. He was random, and simply because we were jiving right off the bat didn’t mean I was ready to mingle. I’d recently gone through a breakup, and even though that made me open to his flirtation, it also made me unwilling to let someone else in so soon.

Stanley kept chatting me up every day after that first chat. He was so full of conversation, engaging, saying the right things, establishing our friendship. Things heated up in our inbox from flirtation to heavy verbal petting. He wanted to do this to me and do that to me. By the time he started asking me to come see him, it seemed like I was supposed to have gotten so turned on by our sex chats, that I’d be desperate to shag him.

But I was still cautious. I could talk a good talk of sex, but that didn’t mean I was simply dying to fuck him. So, I continued declining his invitations. However, he didn’t take my rejection badly and give up. No. He stayed being my friend, steadily chatting with me. And we continued to get close to each other.

On a particular day, he invited me to what he said was a gay party, which according to him was strictly by invitation.

“It’s going to be a classy event,” he said. “You should really come. There’ll be security and everything.”

The invitation was tempting but I said no. I don’t know what it was about this guy, but for whatever reason, I didn’t trust him well enough to take our acquaintanceship anywhere beyond social media. It wasn’t like I suspected him of being kito. I think it was more like I thought there was something more to him than he was letting on to me on Facebook. Every now and then, I’d scroll through his timeline and pictures, looking for something and not even knowing what it was I was looking for. But there was nothing untoward about him; he was simply another average Nigerian with opinions he shared on Facebook and pictures he uploaded for people to like and comment on.

Regarding the party, he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He kept pushing for me to come over, kept enticing me with details about this party that was supposed to be a really fun event. Initially, I kept my responses to his insistence vague, not sure whether I would eventually go or not. But on the day of the party, which was a Sunday, I knew I wasn’t going to go and I told him so.

Surely, now he would stop talking to me.

But no, he buzzed me the next day to talk about how he didn’t enjoy the party because I wasn’t there. It was really sweet, the way he went on and on about how he couldn’t bring himself to have a good time after I turned his invitation down.

“Aww, dear, I’m really sorry,” I texted him.

He texted back with an address and said, “This is how you apologize to me. Come and see me at my office.”

By this time, I was starting to get weirded out by this relentless insistence for us to see. He tried to make it seem like he had fallen so in love with me and just wanted us to make it official by meeting. However, his behaviour came across as creepy.

*

KENNETH

Kenneth was a longtime friend who I got to know back in the time when I was still struggling with self-acceptance. Kenneth was one of my closest friends; I had three close friends and he was the best of them. We were so close to each other, that we knew each other’s secrets. The only thing I kept from him was the truth about my sexuality. I was very sure I would lose his friendship if he ever got to know that I am gay, because he was a very judgmental person and didn’t hide his disdain for gay people. I loved him as a friend and so, I kept who I was from him. For fifteen years, I played a role in our friendship that wasn’t entirely who I am.

This was only easy to do when I was still struggling with my identity as a homosexual. But the more I made the choice to embrace my sexuality, the harder it became to hide myself from Kenneth. And I must have unknowingly let on something to him, because that day, he asked me over to his place, and simply hit me with an interrogation about my sex life and the people I know. He talked to me like I was a criminal he’d caught doing something wrong; he’d apparently been gathering information, because he wasn’t interrogating me like he needed answers. He simply wanted to shame me with the truth he’d discovered.

“Henry, you are a faggot. A bloody homosexual! I am disgusted by you, man!”

My friend of over fifteen years stood there and attacked me with his homophobia. I was not prepared for it. I knew he was bigoted, but you just always find yourself thinking: No matter how much they hate gay people, when they know about me, they’ll make me exempt from their scorn because they love me.

But Kenneth wasn’t my friend in that room. He was someone who’d chosen his prejudice over me. My instinct was to deny, deny, deny. But I wasn’t convincing and he was on the warpath.

Eventually, I was worn out by his spiteful attacks and said, “I can’t do this with you today.”

“Yes, but you can let another man fuck you in the nyash,” he spat at me. “Are you not ashamed?”

I turned and walked away, feeling his eyes judging me as I left his house.

I was broken and disappointed. I was tired and hurt. The burden was too heavy for me to bear. I was angry and betrayed. Kenneth had no right to humiliate me the way he did. How could we have been friends for so long, and he’d be okay with treating me this badly? How dare he? This was a guy who was no better than me, with all these bad things I knew about him, that I knew he’d done. Things I never judged him for, secrets I kept for him. And he had the nerve to look down on me simply because I am gay?

How dare he!

As I walked down the street, on my way to the bus stop, I was flooded with turbulent emotions. When I got to the bus stop, the waiting area was empty. I collapsed into one of the chairs and put my face in my hands. Then I started crying bitter tears.

The grief I was feeling was a culmination of other things beside Kenneth’s betrayal.

*

FRIENDS

Earlier that week, another really close friend, Chike, had also fucked me over. Chike was the kind of friend who I considered to be family. We were really close, to the point that our families knew of our friendship – even though my parents didn’t like him. When his father died from cancer, I made the long-distance journey to his hometown for the funeral. I was only planning on staying for the weekend. But there was a family dispute – a war between Chike’s immediate family and the extended family – predictably over some properties that were owned by Chike’s father. The burial was postponed until both sides could agree on a common ground, and this forced me to stay on for a week. Eventually, the funeral happened and by the time I returned to Lagos, my business had suffered from my prolonged absence.

Chike not only didn’t appreciate the sacrifice I made to be there for him during his trying time, but when he returned to Lagos, he travelled to Germany shortly after. And he didn’t tell me. It was something that had obviously been in the works for some time, and he just never told me. I knew he had come back to Lagos and was waiting for when we would meet up or something – only for a mutual friend to tell me that he had left Nigeria. I was stunned, disappointed and found myself questioning our longtime friendship that clearly didn’t mean anything to him.

Secondly, remember when I said I’d recently gone through a breakup? Well, that happened after I found out that another friend of mine, Tayo, was hooking up with my boyfriend, Eric. That day, I’d asked to use Tayo’s phone to make a phone call. I was trying to dial the number when a series of WhatsApp messages from my boyfriend popped in. Wondering why he was texting Tayo, I clicked open the message to read this: Hey baby boy, wanna meet up at our usual place for a fuck?

And following after the message was a picture of his dick.

Feeling dismayed, I scrolled and scrolled, discovering to my deepening shock that this affair between Tayo and Eric had been going on for months, almost as long as my relationship with Eric.

To come from all that betrayal to encounter Kenneth’s homophobic rejection of our friendship was just too much for me. And so, I sat there in the bus stop seat and broke down into tears.

*

ENEMIES

I needed to find somewhere to escape to. I needed someone to listen to my pain. I needed a shoulder to unburden my emotional baggage unto. I was going through devastation caused by the people I loved, and I needed someone who loved me to help me make sense of it all.

And in that moment, the person that came to mind was Stanley.

Yes. Seeking comfort in the hands of someone I didn’t entirely trust was a sign of how vulnerable I was feeling and how low the situation had reduced me to.

It certainly didn’t help that I knew from our chats that he lived not very far from where I was. I called him and he was extremely happy to hear from me, even more so when I told him I wanted to see him. His cheerfulness gave me some desperately-needed comfort. He directed me to the same hotel he’d told me was the venue for the party I didn’t attend, and told me to wait for him in the VIP lounge. He claimed he was in a meeting and would meet me there as soon as he was done. I just hoped he would understand that I didn’t want to see him for sex. I just needed a friend, someone I could talk to.

Some minutes later, I was standing in front of the hotel, staring at it with immense displeasure. This wasn’t what I’d expected. The so-called hotel looked like such a rundown establishment with a building that did not inspire confidence in whatever service the hotel had to offer. This was clearly one of those motels that would probably charge as low as three thousand naira for a night.

I’d expected more from Stanley. He liked to talk about how he was a supervisor in the company where he worked. Couldn’t he have asked us to meet in someplace better than this?

As I stood there, my consciousness was picking up lots of bad vibes about the whole setup, like a warning about impending doom. But I didn’t pay it any attention. I simply wanted to meet a friend and talk. So, I ignored the instincts that had been honed in by years of listening to my friends talk about their kito experiences and walked into the motel.

As bad as the outside was, the interior of the motel looked even worse. Everything was either broken or dusty or both. The receptionist directed me to the VIP lounge that looked like its better days were long past. It didn’t even look like the people who run this place were making any effort. The seat I wiped clean with my handkerchief before gingerly sitting on looked like it would crumble beneath me. A barman came over to take my order and I declined; I didn’t trust that anything I put in my mouth from this place wouldn’t give me some unknown disease.

How could Stanley ask me to meet him here?

As I waited for him, I leaned back into the sofa and found myself nodding off. I was so physically drained and hoped Stanley wouldn’t mind if he came in here and saw me asleep.

What was perhaps very few moments later, a thunderous slap shook me awake with a start. My eyes shot open and I jumped in my seat. I was surrounded by three guys. I was struggling to understand what was going on, when they dragged me from the sofa. I called for help. There were two elderly men who were in the lounge, drinking and chatting. They barely glanced in our direction, ignoring me as I was dragged out of the room. My assailants took me to an enclosed corner in the motel and pushed me to the ground.

Where was Stanley? What was going on?

It didn’t take long for me to put the pieces together. Stanley was the bait, and this was a kito situation. Fear surged through me, nearly paralyzing me as I cussed at myself for not knowing any better.

They stripped me down to my boxers, ransacked my clothes until they found my ATM card. One of them had already taken my phone and unlocked it with my thumb. They took their time to carefully go through all my messages, phone text messages, WhatsApp and Facebook. They saw my account details and were satisfied with the figure.

I was wearing a smart watch, which was an expensive birthday gift from my ex. One of them yanked it off my wrist and hastily tucked it into his pocket before the other two would notice. A thief among thieves.

I also had on a necklace that had sentimental value. It was a family heirloom that had been passed down from father to son. I’d prayed in my hopelessness that they wouldn’t notice the necklace. Unfortunately, it was too shiny for them to overlook it. They were greedy. They wanted everything. They were going to take everything.

When they asked me to hand over the necklace and I began begging, refusing to unclasp it and hand it over, they rushed at me with furious beating. They hit me with planks and metal. I was battered and bruised all over. Blood was seeping from a cut on my face.

When they asked for the necklace again, defeated, I gave it to them. The leader took it from me and examined it with the greedy eyes of a thief, trying to estimate its monetary worth.

They took pictures of me in my semi-nakedness and forced me to admit that I am a homosexual in a video that they recorded with my phone.

That day was one long nightmare, the darkest day of my life. They took everything I had, eventually getting around to wiping all the savings in my account. All that I was left with were horror and pain.

And hate.

I lay there hating them very much. I hated them and wished them all the bad karma in the world.

I hated the men in the bar who hadn’t intervened when I was getting assaulted in their presence.

I hated the barman who could come ask me to order a drink but was nowhere to be found when I was in trouble.

I hated the receptionist who hadn’t rushed over to find out the reason for my screams.

I hated everyone in this rundown motel who seemed like they were working together with these kito criminals.

And I hated Stanley the most for entrapping me with a friendship that was never real.

They eventually returned my clothes to me. As I carefully got dressed, I was accepting what happened. Devastation was still working itself through me, and I would no doubt break down much later when I get home. But right then, I was accepting my fate. What had happened had happened. I would find a way to bounce back stronger. If I wasn’t going to die here today, then I would be made stronger to live again.

“Run,” they commanded after they had pushed me out the gate of the motel. “Run, and make you no dare come back.”

And I obeyed. I was weak from exhaustion and their beating, but I ran. I ran as fast as my weak legs could carry me, away from these evil people.

But I couldn’t run away from the trauma. That would follow me for a long time like a shadow.

I ran, and then I walked. I walked until a car stopped beside me. The driver looked at me and asked if I was okay. He’d clearly noticed the blood-stained clothes and my disheveled appearance.

“I was robbed,” I said tiredly. “They took all my money.”

At this point, I started crying uncontrollably.

Looking stricken, the man came down and helped me into his car. He suggested driving me to the nearest police station so I could file a report. I said no. I just wanted to go back home. He asked me where I lived and I told him. He drove me as far as he could go and then gave me some money for the rest of the way. I was deeply grateful for his goodwill. For he was a clear example of how there are people with enough humanity to restore your faith in a world with so much ugliness.

Written by Henry

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13 Comments

  1. Francis
    March 07, 09:15 Reply

    This was painful to read sha. Hope you’re doing fine now or seeking help if you ain’t. This is too much 😔
    Where’s the bastard Stanley today oh?

  2. Lopez
    March 07, 09:34 Reply

    I’m lost of words, don’t even know where to start from or what to say. Just stay strong Henry. This, your story is the classic definition of this country is not safe for all of us. On a lighter note, can we burn down that dingy motel or something, at least we can fight back these set ups in one way or the other.

  3. Pezaro
    March 07, 10:10 Reply

    This is too much to take in on a Sunday 😪
    I’m so sorry Henry, you’ll definitely bounce back stronger

  4. Blackie
    March 07, 10:15 Reply

    I am sorry for what you went through. Having a homophobic straight guy as a best friend is like keeping a venomous snake at home as a pet, It’s not worth it. You allowed your emostion to take over you which is not good at all, and that was why you went looking for a total stranger to cry on his shulder after you got bitten by your obvious venomous pet snake you called friend. Your Story about that Stanley of guy has all the ingredients of a kito wrritten over it, but because of your emotions again you jumped back into a pit that you safely avoided befor.

  5. Justin
    March 07, 10:41 Reply

    This is too much to absorb, you can never trust strangers you meet that are suddenly showing too much affection. Seriously it was obvious this stanley guy was upto no good with the relentless invite his been sending you. What you went through was horrible, starting from your friend that discovers your sexuality and you finding out about your bf.
    For me, have zeroed my mind even tho have not been kitoed before. Don’t with nigerian dudes could hardly find one attractive.
    Like seriously I also thot of burning down that unkept motel

  6. Babji
    March 07, 10:57 Reply

    Always trust your instincts… ALWAYS!!!

    So sorry for all that you have been through and hope you one day find peace …..

    This could have been avoided

    Name the Motel so we can at least know to never step near it

  7. Joe
    March 07, 11:24 Reply

    You went through all these Henry?So sorry about that,nemesis will surely catch up with Stanley and his cohorts.

  8. Jo
    March 07, 16:21 Reply

    So sorry about wat u went through Henry. U’r a strong person and u’d come out stronger.

  9. SideEye
    March 07, 18:02 Reply

    Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a place where your neighbours actually cared for you … I’m mostly disgusted that people were in the vicinity of the ongoing Kito, and no one said a word or spoke up 🙁

  10. HOOKKIE
    March 08, 00:31 Reply

    your friends, I see the attribute of mine in my university days. Although he saved me during my own experience but it still didn’t add up that he attacked me after that same incident. Am so sorry about whatever you went through. You will be fine and better than ever believe me

  11. alex
    March 10, 20:35 Reply

    It gets better. Just keep your head up. Try to get the incident documented somehow, like go to the hospital and say something like you were kidnapped and beaten; take pictures.. might come in handy one day. So sorry about your life savings, money comes and goes… I’m sure it’ll come again. Much love.

  12. O.B
    March 12, 01:05 Reply

    Sorry about what happened…
    If you don’t trust someone entirely, sometimes blocking such people helps… So that you don’t fall into temptation in times of weakness…
    All these idiots are enabled by the society… Arrrrgh!!!

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