“You Just Don’t Want To Be Poor And Gay In Nigeria.” – Pa Ikhide

“You Just Don’t Want To Be Poor And Gay In Nigeria.” – Pa Ikhide

In a Facebook post following the historic decriminalization of gay sex in India, writer Pa Ikhide had this to say.

Check on it.


The expectation by many that African writers should loudly agitate against Africa’s many injustices is neither misplaced nor unrealistic. They got their fame and fortune from writing tales with such horrors as a backdrop. They should not ignore what has branded them profitably.

On the NGO/writing hustle and human/civil rights in Africa, there’s enough hypocrisy, cowardice and lack of will to go around. Many Nigerian writers and intellectuals for instance only care for their space, as long as it is warm and nurturing. Their advocacy benefits them only.

Thanks to the new Christianity, homophobia is a problem in Nigeria. Anti-gay laws target the vulnerable and the poor whose only crime is that they are born different, but do not have the money to live their lives. Except when it suits them, writers have been silent about this.

Among the elite, the hypocrisy is galling. As long as our spaces are warm and well-funded (by a generous Western benefactor), we don’t much care. If you are gay in Nigeria, and educated and at least middle class, you are good. Your money will protect your right to live your life.

I’ve been to literary events in Africa and my gay/lesbian friends walk around freely holding hands and doing PDA with their lovers, as they should, all of us under police escort. Beyond that space, if you are poor, you are asking to be lynched if you dare express your sexuality.

My point? If you are educated and have money you can do whatever you want in my part of Africa and get away with it as long as you live in a space that mimics the West. Beyond that space, is hell for poor women, children, gays and lesbians. The pastors and the law will lynch you.

Yup, you just don’t want to be poor and gay/lesbian in Nigeria. You are asking to be killed. If you are a star writer and have money, sure, you can make love on the streets and the police will protect your right to be you, as long as you pay them. Even the pastors will bless you.

Our writers, NGO czars and paid talking heads have not worked at expanding that warm space that I speak of. They just like to make woke noises because it is woke and that is how they make a good living. Wail to the West about injustices and your wallet fills up with grant money!

Let this be a call to action for all Nigerian writers and thinkers. I think we should raise the bar and widen the circle of warm spaces we all live in where we say nice things about feminism, gender identity, trans this, cis that, blah blah blah. Who nor like better thing?

On this note, I salute the courageous efforts of India’s judiciary for declaring that gay sex is not a crime. Nigeria should look to India’s example, not to the Bible thumping bigotry of her homophobic leaders.

Written by Pa Ikhide

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    • Mandy
      September 08, 16:34 Reply

      I wondered the same thing. The post has sub written all over it.
      But he did not lie at all.

  1. Patrick
    September 08, 18:48 Reply

    For all his years battling Human rights abuses by the Nigerian government, one writer has been rather reticent about the Anti-gay bill, and homosexuality in general: WOLE SOYINKA!

    Do you guys think it’s a case of ‘if you don’t have nice things to say, keep quiet!’ ?

  2. real me
    September 11, 08:10 Reply

    this is so sad and yet true..
    the problem with this community in Nigeria is that we never stick with one another, sticking with one another means helping each other with the little you got…we ain’t gonna go anywhere if there is no funds …

  3. Bob
    September 11, 11:24 Reply

    It also behooves on us to do more as most of us in this part of the world may be too lazy. You meet someone online and in less than an 24 hours, he is already asking you for money and how he hasn’t eaten. Just imagine this? You took the steps first and not the person. I also discovered that most of those I meet are not ready to further their education, O’ Level wont take you far and you aren’t ready to get good skills that will catapult you to a better financial position. We still have along way to go because we are our own enemies in this part of the world. You are ready to help but the other party isn’t disposed for that help or earn such a help from going by your findings.

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