News, April 22, 2002
By Tajudeen Sulaiman & Bamidele Adebayo
LAGOS, NIGERIA—Homosexuals who used to hide their faces, have of late, become more brazen
in their acts. Their influence pervades the public and private sectors in
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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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