Last edited: February 16, 2005

Nation’s Homosexuals

The News, April 22, 2002

By Tajudeen Sulaiman & Bamidele Adebayo

LAGOS, NIGERIAHomosexuals who used to hide their faces, have of late, become more brazen in their acts. Their influence pervades the public and private sectors in Nigeria.

Alhaji Femi Ade Rasheed used to carry himself with the dignified gait of a prince. But an allegation of homosexuality has sent the board member of the Ogun State Agro Allied Industries and a member of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, in the state, tumbling down. He has sung to the Police in Abeokuta, the state capital. And he has been arraigned before an Isabo Magistrate court in the city charged with what the police called "indecent practice between males" (a phrase for sodomy) contrary to section 217 of the criminal code. If the court found him guilty, he may spend 14 years in jail.

Rasheed’s story is distinctive in the increasing and brazen homosexual practices in Nigeria. Unlike Rasheed, many homosexuals are hardly arrested, as they are themselves wielders of power and influence, obscenely rich and respected. In the last decade or so, they have formed themselves into a network of clubs and mafia, membership of which offers a sure passport to stupendous riches, even more power and influence. The recent trend is that homosexuality, which used to be a carefully guarded secret by the practitioner, is graduating into an open level. Gays abound in the armed forces, in the bureaucracy, among politicians and the private sector. Apart from some prominent Nigerians who have been accused publicly of this "sexual preference and board room players who perform the act to seal juicy contracts, school pupils have been bitten by the bug. The clobbering to death of a homosexual student of Government College, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State on 3 April, illustrates the pervasiveness of sodomy in the land. What is more, gays now have a non-governmental organisation called Alliance Rights, set up to fight their cause in a multi-religious and heterosexual country.

Alhaji Rasheed’s present trouble started early February this year, when his green Mercedes-Benz car with number-plate AR 505 ABC Abuja, pulled up at the gate of Government Technical College Idi-Aba, Abeokuta. He was said to have asked after a fictitious Gbenga, a bait to catch a prey.

The school’s security personnel were said to have demanded for Gbenga’s surname, but Alhaji could not provide one. But the officer, recognising the famous Alhaji as an illustrious son of the state, decided to assist him. Subsequently, a student, Yemi, was sent to go and search for the Gbenga. But his mission was not successful. Eventually, that did not dissuade the Alhaji from carrying out his mission. Like the proverbial patient dog that eats the fattest bone, Alhaji Rasheed maintained his cool in an obscure place around the school.

Within a short period, his efforts yielded fruit.

Yemi, the student who was earlier sent to assist him to look for Gbenga, was going for lunch break. Alhaji emerged from hiding and accosted Yemi who recognised him as the person that came to his school a few minutes ago. Alhaji Rasheed showered Yemi with gifts.

The man persuaded the student to take him to the house of two others: Oyetunji Gbemi and Micheal Oyeku, all students of the 23 -year old technical college. They were all excited the way the Alhaji who is old enough to be their father, spoiled them with gifts and invited them home. They agreed to follow their newly found ‘mentor’ to Imeko, which is about sixty-minute drive from Abeokuta.

Gbemi borrowed cassettes to be played in Alhaji’s video machine, at Imeko. On getting there, according to sources close to the sexually abused students, Alhaji used all forms of gimmicks to delay the boys who insisted on going back to Abeokuta. At the end of the day, they agreed to sleep in Alhaji Rasheed’s flat in the town. After watching all the movies, the trio slept in one of the rooms in the three-bedroom apartment.

In the night, Alhaji furtively went into the room where the boys slept. He slept among the boys, who kept wondering what was going on. Initially, they thought, their host just wanted to be in their company. But they were wrong.

The Alhaji soon started fumbling with the boys’ private parts till they ejaculated. It was equally alleged that he penetrated the anus of one of the boys. The boys felt dumbfounded and violated. They consequently reported the matter to the school authorities.

But the 50-year old Alhaji Rasheed, who started work as a reporter with Radio Kaduna, was not satisfied yet. He wanted more quirky sexual pleasure and sought fresh boys in the same school the following day.

Unknown to him that the cat had been let out of the bag; the students of the school mobbed him. But for the timely intervention of one of their teachers, the Alhaji would have been lynched.

He was, however, arrested, detained and taken to court. The trial magistrate granted him bail and adjourned the case. When the case came up again on 5 April, the Alhaji was absent in court. The matter has again been adjourned.

At the technical school, the Vice Principal, Mr. E.A. Ojuyomi, said: "It is true that we paraded four boys in the school assembly and cautioned other students not to follow strangers anywhere. But I will not tell you their names and I will not comment on the matter."

Police sources in Abeokuta said Alhaji Rasheed has a notorious reputation when it comes to his sexual preference.

Early last year, Alhaji Morufu Alabi a.k.a "Omo Odo Agba", the presenter of a radio programme called "Teleda Lase," bit more than what he could chew, when he aired a complaint against Rasheed on Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation, OGBC, FM stereo. One Bayo, who was probably Alhaji Rasheed’s first sexually abused victim in the state, had come to lodge a complaint to Alhaji Morufu Alabi, whose programme is designed to expose the ills of the society.

According to Bayo, also a student of the technical college, Alhaji Rasheed, had carnal knowledge of him when he was doing his industrial training, IT, at Imeko and he feared that because of what he considered to be an abominable sexual assault, he had lost his manhood.

Alhaji Rasheed was invited to the programme to defend himself. He admitted "accommodating" Bayo and other boys doing their IT at Imeko. He claimed that it was just a kind gesture to help the people of the state, but he denied having carnal knowledge of the boy.

Despite the denial, the students of the school who had gathered at the radio station’s premises and felt that Rasheed was lying, pounced on him as he was stepping out of the station’s studio. They beat him, vandalized his car and broke his eyeglasses, before he was rescued. Alhaji Rasheed, who is well connected in the state, reported the matter to the police, but the matter was later settled, with OGBC coughing out the sum of N20, 000. The money was paid through the chambers of his lawyer, Mr. Idale Habib Ajayi, a member of Ogun State House of Assembly.

While living in Ilorin, Kwara State, some years ago, Rasheed was alleged to have been caught several times committing sodomy with students of Ara-Orun Grammar School and Victory College, Edidi.

In the early eighties, he was a household name in the old Kwara State. He was the presenter of a Saturday morning Pidgin English programme, Una Good Morin O. He aired the programme on Radio Kwara and the producer was the late Kola Shomoye. Rasheed presented the programme so well, that he immediately became the toast of everybody in the state. He capitalised on the stardom to make connections. It was then he met General Abdulkareem Adisa, a prominent indigene of the state; Olola Kasumu, the leader of Afonja Descendant Union, ADU, and other important dignitaries. Some of his colleagues at the Radio Station, who spoke with TheNEWS last week on the condition of anonymity, said that he was not actually a staff of the station. They said that despite the fact that he mixed freely and he likes attending parties, he was never seen in the company of the opposite sex. None of them could say whether or not he has a wife. The slim built Alhaji Rasheed however left Radio Kwara suddenly.

He later became the farm manager of General Adisa’s Discabog Farms Ilorin. He was also a member of the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN. Rasheed was also the manager in the farm of Mr. Sunday Adewusi, a former Inspector-General of Police. He facilitated the installation of General Adisa, as the Akinrogun of Imeko, two years ago. Rasheed is a prominent member of AD in Ogun State.

Repeated calls at the office of Agro Services at Asero, Abeokuta yielded no fruits, as the workers there said Rasheed does not work full-time. At home in Imeko, his flat located in a bungalow, known as "Fine Tree House" near Saint Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, was firmly locked.

Neighbours said Rasheed lives alone in the flat and that he is not used to telling them his itinerary.

They further informed that they had not seen him for the past three weeks.

There are other people who share Rasheed’s sexual preference. At Sango-Otta, on 17 January, the town’s vigilance group apprehended one Oladunjoye Akeem, the managing director of Uncle Fast Photo in the town.

Oladimeji was allegedly having carnal knowledge of a boy when he was arrested.

In Lagos, the sodomites on the Island have meeting points at some exclusive restaurants in Victoria Island, while those on the mainland have a meeting place at Kampala Hotel, Oke Koto, Agege. The decrepit one storey building looks ordinary in daytime, but at dawn, it is a special place for the homosexuals and transvestites. The building facing the road adjacent to the popular Danjuma Cinema has no signboard to indicate that it is a hotel. But as from 10:00 p.m in the evening, everything changes; exotic cars are always seen in front of the brothel. Some of the gays would put on lipsticks like women while some of them try to walk like ladies.

Most of the patrons of the brothel are said to be the rich and powerful in the society: army officers and top government officials. Access to the club is exclusive to the members of the gay club.

Homosexuality also abounds in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and other cities in the country.

Gay business in Kano is notorious as female prostitution in Italy or the Red Light District of Hamburg in Germany. The business is said not to be limited to any class.

Low class gay brothels can be found along Abedi, Freetown, and Sani streets, all inside Sabon Gari.

Among the gays are transvestites who usually dress and make up like female prostitutes at night. The high-class gays, incorporating Nigerians and some of their Lebanese friends do their own at guesthouses where they keep their lovers. Such guesthouses are along Sultan Road, Nassarawa, G.R.A, Kundila Estate and Maiduguri Road. They are also found at Hausawa quarters and Sabongari. Among the top gays in Kano is the Galadima Kano, Alhaji Tijanni Ashim. Although, he has several wives, at the same time he has sexual peccadillo for his gender. Ibrahim Dan Kabo, who died last week, was also reputed for being a bi-sexual.

Indeed, one of his hotels at the GRA in Kano has for some years been a rendezvous of gays and bi-sexuals.

Some top journalists in the town have also been found among them. There is also Ibrahim Ismail, the former husband of women affairs minister, Aisha Ismail. He was said to be close to a former inspector-general of police. Insiders said that the fact of his homosexuality was one of the major reasons for his separation from his wife.

There is in addition, the notorious case of Bello Galadanci, a serving director of information at the Kano state ministry of information. He was involved in a homosexual scandal under the military administration of Brigadier Dominic Oneya. Oneya not only reprimanded him but also vowed to freeze any promotion for him while he remained the administrator of the state.

Although Kano has instituted a new Sharia law, which bans homosexuality, the city’s notoriety for homosexuality is legendary. During the holy month of Ramadan in 1998, Bashir Yan Tandu, a famous businessman, was beaten up by residents of his quarters in Dala Local Government area of the city. He was caught making love to a nine-year old boy. This is another form of gay practice (pederasty, which involves a male adult and a boy).

Foreigners imported gay culture.

Gay culture was never a tradition in Kano or any part of Nigeria. The belief was that it was introduced into Northern Nigeria by two influences, beginning from the Arabs, who brought Islam and then the British who colonised the territory. Then the practice was accentuated in the early public schools, all male, in most cases, where older boys abused young boys.

Apart from the colonial masters, Lebanese and Syrian businessmen in the North started the act with their drivers, cleaners and gardeners. But it later became a pastime among top government officials and businessmen who considered it as an avenue to excel. In Kano, there was (and still is) the belief that the vitality and luck of a man lurks in his anus. Homosexuality is also another form of domination, especially by traditional rulers over their fellow men.

In Dutse, Jigawa State, Alhaji Maitama Yusuf, the minister of commerce in the Shehu Shagari administration, was accused of homosexuality in 1997 by 24-year old Mohammed Jamiu. Yusuff lured Mohammed to his house, pretending to be his (the latter’s) father’s friend. The matter blew open when the boy, after experiencing anus bleeding, reported the matter to the Emir of Dutse.

Mohammed later wrote to the Inspector General of police, Ibrahim Coomasie.

Homosexuality, however, goes beyond the escapades of mischievous schoolboys or the perversion of politicians and boardroom players. In Nigeria, it rules the realm of politics.

Major Gideon Orkar and his fellow coupists revealed this on 22 April 1990. In his broadcast, which was intermittently interrupted by the howling of radio morse, Orkar said: "Fellow Nigerian citizens, on behalf of the patriotic and well meaning people of the Middle Belt and Southern Part of this country, I Major Gideon Orkar wish to happily inform you of the successful ousting of the dictatorial, corrupt, drug baronish, inhuman, sadistic, deceitful, homosexual-centred... administration of General Ibrahim Babangida..." If Orkar scratched the charge of gay tendency against the Babangida regime on the surface, Colonel Tony Nyiam who also took part in the 1990 putsch was more revealing in an interview he granted a magazine in September 1995. He said that the key allegation was on homosexuality. "You don’t need to go far," he argued.

"Just ask officers’ wives who know their husbands were sent out of the army because they refused to be abused by IBB." One of such victims, according to Nyiam, was Brigadier Mayaki, a Hausa-Fulani combatant officer who studied political science at the University of Ibadan. In the words of Nyiam, Mayaki, a prince of the Sokoto caliphate excelled in all the courses he attended.

"The only drawback that Brigadier Mayaki had was that he refused to become a woman to IBB," Nyiam revealed.

Colonel Rabiu Isa, a brilliant officer of the artillery unit was, according to Nyiam, also retired from the army by IBB because he refused to be the former head of state’s gay mate. Nyiam complained bitterly: "We just could not tolerate this un-African attitude of men sleeping with themselves... This group of homosexuals has hijacked power from Nigeria. There are still some circles you cannot get to if you don’t resort to bottom power." Justin Fashanu, Ex Norwich city striker and brother of John Fashanu, committed suicide after series of reports linking him with sodomy against several teenagers in England. Fashanu lived a life of a recluse but was a regular caller at police stations on matters bordering on homosexuality.

Also connected to homosexuality is Babashola Rhodes, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, based in Lagos. Apart from students of the University of Lagos whom he lured with money, he, on many occasions, allegedly made sexual advances to young lawyers in his chambers. His colleagues on the bar generally disdain his sexual preference and were known to have boycotted the ceremony that made him a senior advocate of Nigeria, under the Babangida regime.

Meanwhile, just as environmentalists and human rights activists have their own pressure groups, so also are Nigerian homosexuals. They now have an NGO known as "Alliance Rights" to fight for gays and lesbians in Nigeria.

In an interview which one Erelu, the president of the organisation, granted Radio Netherlands in January this year, he said that homosexuality had always existed in Africa, especially in Northern Nigeria, where they are called dan daudu (men who are wives of men).

Erelu explained that in the olden days, although a harem of wives was a symbol of riches, to show stupendous wealth, "you had to keep a stable of men"... take care of your dan daudu and their families, have sexual relationship with and be a mentor to them.

Erelu and his NGO are not happy about the climate of intolerance towards homosexuals. This attitude, according to Erelu, dates back to the Victorian era when sodomy was made punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Now Sharia, according to him, has worsened the situation.

There is a link between power and gay culture, which dates back to the colonial times in Nigeria. Some of the country’s colonial lords were suspected to be homosexuals who sowed the culture of the sexual predilection. Social historians said they passed on the culture to some of the first generation of political leaders in the First Republic. The culture continues to grow till date.

One puzzling question that demands answer about Sodomy is what pleasure does a man derive from having sex with a man like him?

An herbalist told this magazine, that some people do it for ritual. It is believed that the gays get money and power from the act. While others make connections through it, individuals do it for one thing or the other. But the origin of sodomy could be found in the Holy Bible. In the book of Genesis, it is written that in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, men were having carnal knowledge of fellow men. Two Angels visited Lot, Abraham’s cousin, but they came in form of human beings. As soon as they entered Lot’s house, the Sodomites followed them and told Lot that they wanted to sleep with the Angels. Lot refused.

The Sodomites insisted. The Angels, therefore, made the intruders blind and God sent the Angels to destroy the city with brimstone and fire. Is Sodom and Gomorrah here yet?

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