Nigeria Transvestite Handed Fine
News, February 15, 2005
A Nigerian Islamic court has sentenced a man to six
months in prison and fined him $38 for living as a woman for seven years in
the northern city of Kano.
judge told 19-year-old Abubakar Hamza, who used his female identity to sell
aphrodisiacs, to desist from “immoral behaviour”.
Mr Hamza, who appeared in court dressed in a pink kaftan
and matching cap, said he was now “a reformed man”.
Since his arrest, he has become a celebrity in the strict
Posters of him dressed in women’s clothing have been
Leading a double life, Mr Hamza had a wife in his
village, but in town lived as a woman in quarters reserved for married Muslim
He used his female identity, Fatima Kawaji, to sell
herbal aphrodisiacs to women.
Until his arrest, Mr Hamza lived with the Adamu family,
who fondly called him Kawajo which in the Fulani language means friend.
The family’s teenage daughters did not suspect he was
not a girl, despite the fact that he always dressed and undressed in the
“It is hoped that you have learnt some lessons during
your trial and I hope you will be of good character and desist from this
immoral behaviour of posing as a woman,” Judge Lawal Isa Rabo said.
A Kano resident present in the court paid the fine on Mr
Hamza’s behalf and having already spent nine months in jail, he left the
Sharia court a free man.
“I am grateful to them for paying the fine,” Mr Hamza
told the BBC’s Hausa service.
But he called on the Kano state government to help him
find a job.
“I used my previous identity [as a woman] to earn my
livelihood, now that I have stopped that, I need a job.”
When questioned about his high pitched voice, he said:
“God makes people differently.”
“This is how my voice is... and you know when you live
with women and you are close to them, you take up their ways.”
He was charged under the Prostitution and Immoral Acts
law of the Sharia penal code, which was reintroduced in Kano in 2000.
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