Nigeria is stressing me out!
One minute it seems like we are making progress and the next we are back to the same spot. I woke up to the news that 70 young men have been arrested (again) by the Kano Hisbah Corps for planning a gay party.
Are you kidding me?
First of all, who are these Kano Hisbah Corps people and where did they come from? Why are they even allowed to function in a society that is supposed to already have law enforcement agents? And please don’t tell me the story that their aim is to enforce sharia law. Why should Sharia law even be an option in a secular nation that is supposed to be Nigeria? Just do a google search of ‘Kano Hisbah Corps’ and you see all the innocent people they have been arresting in the name of Sharia law.
The Owode Arrest is still fresh in our minds. Many of us avoid gay parties for fear of an arrest. Is it not funny how these men were arrested for planning a party? How did these Hisbah people know the sexuality of the arrested men? How did they know the men were gay? Was there a recording where the men said categorically that they were planning a gay party? What was the basis of this arrest?
I am exhausted.
I am tempted to say Nigeria’s anti-gay law is the problem but I don’t think it is the issue here. We have culture and religion to deal with and it seems to even have a hold on people in the country. There is homophobia at home, in the office, in the religious institutions and even in medical institutions. How do we get rid of these systems that enable hate to thrive in the society? Who will stand up for 70 men who have been arrested for not doing anything? Left to me, this could be someone with a vendetta or a grudge.
Nigeria, please stop arresting us. I know we are not the norm and for some reason, we threaten your existence. I know that we are not the standard for what a man or a woman should be. I know that the fact that we refuse to be put in boxes by society makes you feel small. However, let us be. Let us live our lives as we do not have plans to prevent you from living yours. Let us be able to love whoever we choose to without you worrying that your children are in danger. Let us wear what we choose to whether it looks like male or female clothing. Do not let your religious leaders incite hate towards us. Do not let your citizens drag us through the street and set us on fire for what he did or did not do. Repeal your inhumane law that puts a good percentage of your country at risk and more importantly STOP ARRESTING US!
I am sorry if this opinion piece is over the place. I am frustrated and needed to let out my frustration.
Tomiwa Yakubu (a pen name) is a banker who lives in Abuja with his partner. His hobbies are taking long hikes and traveling across Africa.