While this kind of things may be common here in Nigeria, losing the one you love is never anything less than tragic and I truly hope that, if our story cannot get us any help whatsoever, at least the world will know that one man is willing to die to save the one he loves.
In am 23 years old and I have known about my sexual orientation since I was 14, although there were things that I could not fully understand at that age. Only my mother knew about it and she kept it all secret from my father and the rest of the family. The reason is because, starting with 2000 we live under the Sharia law and this law says that gays face imprisonment or even death if found guilty.
A lot has changed since then and many of us live in constant fear. This is why I have never had a boyfriend until one year ago when I met him, the one that I have been waiting for my entire life. People living in free countries cannot possibly understand what it is like to not have the right to love and be loved. I envy them and I don’t wish them to experience the way of life that we have to go through every day. It is like a punishment to not be able to express your feelings and my mother has been my savior all along. I don’t know what I would have done without her support and understanding.
Then I met him and my world completely changed for good. My family and I live in Kano, the metropolitan area and we are around 3 million people here. He moved here with his family a year ago from a smaller state and I met him by pure chance when his car died in the middle of the road and I was there to assist him. He offered me a coffee as a reward and a beautiful friendship emerged that spread for more than 2 months. The problem is that I liked him from the moment we meet and I knew I would soon start to have deeper feelings for him. Two months in and I have already fallen for him.
I write this now because tragedy struck and he was arrested for the presumption of being gay. I don’t know how the news spread, whether he revealed himself to someone that was not trustworthy of if it was someone that had a grudge on him and decided to hurt him. The fact is that he was arrested and I found out 2 days ago that he faces the death penalty if he doesn’t reveal who his gay partner is. I have visited him under the pretext that I am a distant cousin of his and I have privately talked this matter with him, as much as we could, given the conditions. His final words were “Be happy, don’t worry about me!” I felt sadness filling my heart, because I immediately understood what he insinuated by that.
I am not here to tell you that he will most likely be executed for protecting me and that I am seriously thinking in revealing myself if there is any chance that this may save his life. Whatever may be the case, here in these parts, happiness doesn’t seem to be an option for everyone and if I will have to die for my right to happiness, then I will gladly do so.