He had barely settled down in the police cell that night when four sweaty men pounced on him, stripped off his shorts and forced him to lie down on his back.
Like ravening wolves, two of the men clutched his hands to the ground, the other two held on to his throat, and in turn, they forced their manhoods into his private parts.
Their victim screamed and screamed, but no one came to his aid.
It was a traumatic night for Suraj Abiodun, a 27-year-old who was recently thrown into police custody at Mushin, Lagos, on allegation of theft, but has since been released.
“All my life, I had never seen a thing like that. I’m not gay. I don’t know why they were attracted to me,” he said. “It was my first day in the police cell. All night long, I was sexually abused by the men, who should be my age-mates or a bit older than me. I had never seen them in my life.”
Abiodun, who narrated his ordeal to our correspondent during the week, said he was abused until morning of his second day in the cell and had to cry out to the policemen on duty to change the cell for him.
“I was screaming all night long, but maybe the officers on duty didn’t hear me because of the way I was suppressed by the gay inmates. They held on to my throat until I couldn’t speak out again. I could not understand why men like me would be attracted to me. I thought I was mad.
“The following morning, I begged the policemen who came to check up on us to change the cell for me. They asked me why they should do my bidding and I told them everything. At a point, I just couldn’t talk again and couldn’t stand properly.
“I guess that was when they knew I was serious about what I told them. They had to take me to a hospital where I was treated. My manhood was almost damaged. I was feeling the pain all through when I was in the cell. I almost died.”
Few days later, Abiodun said he was bailed out of police custody and had vowed never to do anything that would make him to be arrested again.
“I never knew there are mad inmates in police cell until my encounter with them. I don’t know why they had to involve me since they’re all gay. They should have been sleeping with themselves. However, I will never do anything that will make me to be arrested by policemen again,” the Ogun State indigene said. “Right now, I plan to be more serious with my life and shun every form of hooliganism. I am learning carpentry now and I’m okay with it.”
Asked whether he knew what the policemen at the station did to the men who raped him, Abiodun said, “I don’t really know. I was taken to a hospital after that night for treatment. When I returned, I was taken to a different cell where there were normal people. I wouldn’t know whether the officers took my words seriously and investigated the matter.”
At the same police station in Mushin, another ex-police detainee told Saturday PUNCH how a fellow male inmate fondled with his manhood while he was asleep in custody.
Settling down to a bowl of pepper soup and chilled drink at a bar where he agreed to speak with our correspondent, the 30-year-old, simply called Olawuwo, said he could not believe what he experienced while in cell.
He narrated, “I was arrested sometime last year for allegedly causing trouble in the community, and it was a mistake. I am not a troublemaker because we don’t have a troublemaking blood in my family. I was outside, hanging out with my friends that night when the police rounded us up. They said we constituted nuisance to the community and that we had been reported.
“One cannot argue with the police when they are talking or else they could even say one did what one never did. I had to follow them. We were taken to Mushin police station, where I was kept in custody. I think I spent three days in the cell before I was released on bail. Spending just three days in the cell was like sleeping and waking in hell. I couldn’t have good dreams.
“But on the second night or so, that’s when I saw a fellow inmate who had been staring at me ever since my first day in the cell. I noticed that he was holding his manhood each time he stared at me. The guy must be insane. I did not bother to show interest in what he was doing.
“It was in the night when I confirmed he was gay. I was trying to catch some sleep on the floor when I perceived someone was all over me. He had brought out his manhood and playing with mine. I quickly woke up and gave him a hot slap. He never believed it. I told him, ‘I’m not a girl, mate.’ That was when he backed off.”
In the country, the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act criminalises all forms of same-sex unions and same-sex marriage and persons charged with committing the acts face a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.
However, Saturday PUNCH findings have revealed that right under the nose of law enforcement agents — the police — perpetrators have shown they have nothing to be afraid of.
Sometime in October 2015, the police from the Alapere division raided some parts of the community, locking up some persons suspected of carrying out nefarious activities in the area.
One of the persons locked up, simply called Musiliu, who told our correspondent he was coming from work from Lagos Island, said he was not mad only because he was made to sleep overnight inside a cell for committing no offence, but also because of the “insane” men he was made to sleep with.
He said, “I was coming from work that night and it was just past 11. I explained to them that I was coming from work. I am a mechanic and I closed late that day. I explained everything to them and even showed them my working tools, but they still locked me up. What I saw that night was not good at all.
“I was made to be in the same cell with some guys I suspected were gay. I don’t know whether they had known themselves from somewhere before, but I actually saw two guys smooching each other. Dirty looking boys, perhaps in their 20s! It was when they saw me looking at them that they stopped. I think we were seven in the cell that night. I wonder what this world has turned into. I couldn’t understand the chemistry between two men.”
Musiliu said he was released the following morning on bail after he was allowed to call his siblings and friends who came to his aid.
“It was not easy getting released because they [the police] said they were going to charge all of us to court. But what offence did I commit? For coming from work and going home late? I only thank God that I was released after witnessing all the mess in the cell,” he said.
Another man, who was detained in a cell at the Ketu police station, simply identified as Lawal, 17, also said he experienced sexual victimisation by a male inmate while in police custody in July 2015.
He said he was arrested in the night alongside other persons while he was relaxing at a drinking joint on allegation that he was a member of a cult group.
Lawal told Saturday PUNCH that he told the police officers, “I don’t belong to any group.” But the policemen who raided the area that night wouldn’t believe him.
He was arrested, detained and released four days later after his barber boss came to bail him.
The victim, dressed in red polo and blue jeans, narrated his story, “I was just relaxing when they stormed my area in Ketu. They said I was a member of a cult group terrorising the area. I have never belonged to any cult group in my life. I was arrested and detained.
“But what I found weird was that when I was in the cell, I met a guy who said he liked me when we were both chatting. He said I looked lovely. ‘A man in police custody looking lovely?’ I said to myself. I had never met him before and I wouldn’t know why he liked me. It was later I found out his intention.
“We were five or so in the cell and it was dark. I didn’t know ‘the son of a bitch’ had removed his pants. He should be older than me. Suddenly, he grabbed me and was kissing me. I told him, ‘No, no, no,’ but he continued, holding my manhood in his hand. I had to muster all strength in me to resist him.
“He was annoyed that I pushed him, so he charged at me again. At that point, I had to beg him to leave me. I told him I was not gay. He said it didn’t matter. All the remaining inmates were just laughing at me. Maybe they knew him, I don’t know.
“The following night, he repeated same thing, but when he saw that I was not returning his romantic moves, he had to leave me. He said I was a fool for denying him pleasure. I have never been attracted to a man and I don’t know why I would start with him.
“I just thank God that I was eventually released. It’s not good that policemen will just arrest people carelessly based on no offence. What if I had no one to bail me out? Wouldn’t I have spent more days in their custody? Then they would charge me to court that I was a cultist?”
Lawal said he had stopped hanging out with friends late at night ever since the incident.
“When people look rough, that doesn’t mean they’re rough. The police should not arrest people based on their appearance,” he added before leaving the bar where he instructed Saturday PUNCH to meet with him.
A Lagos-based sociologist, Mrs. Gloria Bamidele, described the victims’ experiences as “emotional crimes” and said it was high time parents raised their children to know the “truth.”
Describing the phenomenon as “spooky” and a social problem, she said homosexuality in police cells states the fact that the society needs to quickly develop solutions to the emergence of “advanced social crimes” in the country.
“If a man could be attacked by gay rapists in the first night he would spend in a police cell, this tells us that more social, emotional crimes are emerging faster than even the physical, violent ones.
“It is strange that people who were in police custody, who were supposed to be crying and pleading for mercy to be released, could think of committing such an atrocity against their fellow inmate. It is barbaric!
“When someone is in police custody, they are supposed to be shivering, not wanting sexual pleasure, particularly with the same sex. This incident tells the fact that this society has gone morally bankrupt. We just thank God for a few ones in this country and the world who are still morally righteous.
“I’d also like to say that some parents have been sleeping too much. Those gay men in police custody, are they not the children of some parents? What were they taught by their parents while growing up? The truth is that it’ll be very hard for a child to derail from a path he or she was introduced to early in life. At this juncture, it is important that everyone teaches their children good virtues early in life. If we have more parents dedicated to this cause, we’ll have fewer crimes in the society.”
A Nigerian psychologist based in London, the United Kingdom, Dr. (Mrs.) Moyo Owolabi, told Saturday PUNCH via email that the major cause why homosexuality is becoming rampant in the society today is due to lack of proper parental upbringing.
“No one heard about all these things in the past. It was never an attention-demanding psychological problem,” she said.
She added that if care is not taken, Nigerian police cells could become a breeding ground for homosexuality, as it is evident in the narrations of the victims who spoke to our correspondent.
She said, “In my opinion, if you look at what is happening today, the major common causes of homosexuality are as a result of factors in family upbringing such as deficient parental or poor fatherly skills.
“Many homosexuals that I’ve interviewed personally are brought up with deficient adult male identities caused by lack of interactions with good male adults. The lack of positive male adult role-modelling would later cause them to be seen as effeminate males when they grow up.”
Just like Bamidele, the psychologist advised parents to spend more time with their children to develop them both socially and psychologically.
“If they know what’s right when they’re young, it will be difficult for them to accept nonsense when they grow up,” she said.
On July 15, 2015, PUNCH Metro reported about 25 landlords from the Temidire, Alagbado area of Lagos State who stormed the premises of the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja, to report a suspected gay rapist in the area.
The complainants, led by the leader of the community, Alhaji Najimu Abioye, alleged that one Tunji had raped many young men in the area, in addition to constituting other forms of nuisance in the community.
The latter had denied the allegation, but the police said the case would be investigated.
Whether the police are aware of the act of homosexuality among some male inmates in their custody and whether they had made arrests in connection with the offence in the past, the spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, SP Dolapo Badmus, said the police would commence investigation into the matter.
He said, “The question is, if the story is true, did the victims cry out for help? Because for every cell, there is always a guard attached. If such a thing was going on, the victims should have cried out.
“However, since this is coming to the notice of the command for the first time, we will investigate. In fact, we have commenced investigation into the matter.”