The siege on homosexuals in Africa: A Nigerian case from the not too distant past

November 30, 2011 


With openly gay and suspected gay individuals facing not only ostracism but harassment and even death in parts of the continent and with even clergymen who should be preaching caution and even love in dealings with those we see as different, it seems the time is ripe for the spreading of more awareness about the plight of homosexuals on the continent.  Millions have been persecuted in the name of race, in the name of religion and in the name of anything that sets certain people apart from the majority but while I find it difficult to embrace a man saying, “I do” to another guy, I think we should must not stand in judgment.  Understanding and empathy are needed by those we consider different in place of the hate being spewed  in different parts of the African Continent. TOLA ADENLE, November 27, 2011.]


The essay below has sat in my ready-to-go file for four days, and with the news out of Nigeria today that its non-performing Senate has passed  “A Bill for an Act to prohibit marriage or civil union entered into between persons of same sex, solemnisation of same and for other matters related therewith, 2011”, I think old news is new news.

Mercifully, the insane suggestion by one of the sponsors of the bill,  Ehigie Uzamare that those found guilty of same-sex marriage should get the death penalty was rejected. 

Mr./Ms. Uzamare, if citizens “guilty” of homosexuality should be sentenced to death, what should be the punishment for looting and corruption which have destroyed lives, led many to early deaths, destroyed Nigeria’s image and social fabrics …? 

Retired Col. David Mark’s (Senate leader) “If there is any country that does not want to give us aid on account of this, it should keep its aid. We hold our values, customs and tradition dearly. No country has the right to interfere with the way we make our laws. If it is on the basis of embracing same sex marriage that they want to give us aid they should keep their aid”  is a joke.  A prison term for same sex people who display public affection is also now on the books.  Incredible!

How many other bills has the body passed?  How long did it take to pass the watered-down FOI bill?  What is happening to the Petroleum Bill?  In Nigeria of 2011 when serving ministers who did not have the means before becoming ministers purchase million-dollar homes abroad with the confidence that she/he bought a property with no cloud, won’t it be great if this Senate can enact a bill that would really regulate the sale, purchase, etcetera of real estate?   See

Now, I wonder what David Mark and the other over-pampered “lawmakers” think about underage marriages, especially as one of the senate’s members reportedly married a pubescent girl in the recent past.  Isn’t this an item that belongs on the national agenda rather than the make-believe “no-go” area of religion? 

This is in line with the unseriousness in a Senate that pays more attention to having its members paid the highest legislative salaries and perks in the world.  It was not long ago that a bill to outlaw so-called “indecent dressing” was seriously pursued.

The “senators” know it and so does just about any adult Nigerian:  no church or court of law was going to be conducting same-sex marriages and even in the West where such may be accepted, gay people are sort of ostracized people to a great extent.   Why would this Abuja crowd arrogate to itself a power to legislate morality because of some  “values, customs and tradition we hold dearly.” 

Are gays immoral people?  In America, I’d rather live next door to a same-sex couple than to a “God-fearing” racist. 

Now, David Mark & Co. should try and EARN JUST 10% of the over a million-dollar/annual salary each gets.  TOLA ADENLE, November 30, 2011.]




by Tola Adenle


Twenty-three year-old Mr. Tunde Ogunyinka may belong in jail for forcibly engaging younger boys in relationships for the single purpose of defiling them but he should not belong in jail for his sexual preference.  If prisons are meant to reform, Tunde will get worse because he’s going to meet worse homosexuals in prison.   It is well known all over the world that one of the worst breeding places for homosexuals is the prison, and Nigeria is not different.  Although prisons may not be the only breeding ground in Nigeria: check boarding schools and institutions like the army.  Wherever people of same sex are isolated with no access to the opposite sex, homosexuality has been known to be rampant.  We can also blame (partly) white people who introduced young boys in boarding houses and poor kids in communities like Abadina at the University of Ibadan long ago.  I am no psychologist and can therefore make no pronouncement on how or why people would go through life holding on to a practice that most of us may dismiss as childhood (mis-)adventure but I believe, at worst, these people need help, not jails.

From what I have read in the papers about this young man’s ignoble acts, my feelings seem to be at variance with the law of the land which, according to the public relations officer, Emmanuel Ighodalo, could put this young man away for “fourteen years imprisonment under Section 214 of the criminal code” as reported by The Cometrecently.  The mother, too, seems to have beliefs that are also at variance with my feelings, ascribing this “unnatural offence against morality” to “spiritual attack.”  Hear the plaintive cries of an anguished mother:  “”This Tunde’s case is not natural.  I have raised other children and none of them gave me trouble like this.”   Meanwhile, like most Nigerian, nay, African problems, there is already a “native doctor” involved:  “Mr. Taju Aleje had restored the first victim’s manhood.  It was this same man that the second victim was taken … by Tunde’s mother.”  Mommy Ogunyinka, too, has taken her belief of “spiritual attack” beyond merely wondering “what have I done to deserve this?  Where did I go wrong”with Tunde, her fifth child.   She spoke of how “she had dropped her white garment” (Tribune) and  “have become a faithful member of Mountain of Fire Ministries …” (The Comet).

It’s going to be a bit difficult but I think we must sort out the various angles to this story.  Raping teenage boys is definitely a crime, plain and simple, natural or unnatural act and for these crimes, Mr. O. must face the full measure of the law but before we sort all these out, please allow me to make a little detour.

Thirty years ago on a warm summer evening in Washington, D.C., we were driving home to Maryland when suddenly a guy, yeah, a full-grown man started crossing the road right in front of our car.  This was  in front of the Greyhound Bus Station, then a seedy part of town.  Generally when we got near the area, we always had to roll up the windows even though our second-hand 1965 Plymouth Valiant had no air conditioning.  Weirdos dominated the vicinity and after Greyhound, you were in a never-land of prostitutes who would stick their heads inside your car and openly solicit; there were also pimps and cross-dressers (men who wore female clothings), etcetera.  I remember we took an older Nigerian “acada” to that area for the shock value.  He and my husband sat up front while I sat at the back.  A girl in the briefest of minis soon walked up to us at the traffic light and asked if Dr. X on the passenger side “needed a ride”!   The whole area has seen massive gentrification anchored by the first D.C. Convention Center which now stands right at the site, a mere ten or so blocks from the White House. 

Anyway, back to the apparition that crossed the road in front of us that summer evening.  I saw the wedding dress before I noticed the wearer and if I had been the one driving, I probably would have crashed the car.  To prevent the train of the wedding dress from sweeping the road, the guy, yeah, a man as I already wrote, held it in his left hand and a bouquet of flowers in the right!  I cannot now recall whether his bouquet contained baby’s breath or poison ivy nor the order of succession of my feelings but revulsion was definitely one of them and fear was very paramount; the guy wore a beard!

That was a generation ago and things have changed.  While most states in the United States still believe that a couple is a man and a woman, there are places, and at least one state – Vermont – where a couple now could imply all sorts of permutations: a woman and her/his “wife” who will be another woman; a man and his “wife” who will be another man.  These couples have “families”, children of which could be adopted; be raised in petri dishes in laboratories; carried for the two men by “birth mothers”, etcetera.  It’s even worse in Europe where America is looked upon as probably too prude in such matters.  Now, I better confess that this essay may not be carried by any mainstream regular newspaper in the States even though the vast majority of America is with me on the ancient idea of boy-meets-girl, boy-loves-girl, boy-proposes and boy-marries-girl: the gays, homosexuals, that is (openly gay and closeted gay) may decide to boycott the paper.  Since buying power is at the bottom of everything and since gays are a powerful economic block, my essay would not be published, unless, of course, it is written for any of the publications of the far right.

Now, back to Mrs. Abiola Ogunyinka’s “problem child” and the first angle that struck me is the reckless way in which newspapers and the police have handled the case.  One of the kids defiled by Mr. Ogunyinka was paraded along with the accused who was in handcuffs.  Apart from the fact that this high school kid was not a criminal, his picture was displayed for the whole world to see.  How will he ever live this stigma down?

Secondly, the police, as usual, seems to be chasing shadows.  If the accused is going from raping one boy to another, has he been tested to see if he’s HIV-positive?  Meanwhile, the relatives of the high school kid went to the police as a result of their boy “losing his manhood”, and not to report his defilement because, according to the story, “more trouble came for her [Tunde’s mother] with the invitation of police by the scared relatives of the second victim …”  It seems, therefore, that as far as the relations were concerned, once their boy’s “manhood” was restored, all was well.

There were obvious embellishments and distortions by both parties because the second kid was apparently embarrassed after the act while Tunde had to make up stories of his “revulsion’ with girl friends. 

An important fact, I believe, is for the police to skip the frivolities of Tunde’s “supernatural power” of casting spells on these younger boys who “lost consciousness” until after the acts.  This young man, Tunde Ogunyinka, is a rapist and whatever laws are on the books for dealing with such crimes are what need to be applied to his case.  If this is not done and Tunde is handled on the “loss of manhood” and other false claims of the boys never remembering anything beyond entering Tunde’s room till after the act, then he may be set free in spite of the claims of violation of Section 214 of the Criminal Code.  What next?  He would be free to continue to terrorize and rape younger men who are looking for gifts of “wears” (clothes, I suppose) from somebody not related to them.

Tola Adenle                                                         

The Comet on Sunday, July 2003



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