Nigeria: Arrest warrant for owner of alleged gay bar

Lagos High Court (Photo courtesy of Premium TImes)
Lagos High Court (Photo courtesy of Premium Times)

A Nigerian court has issued an arrest warrant for a man accused of running a  gay bar, Mamba Online reports.

The news website reported:

Nigerian man charged with running a gay bar – faces 10 years in jail

Location of Badagry in Nigeria.
Location of Badagry in Nigeria. (Map courtesy of Orlean Invest)

A court in Nigeria has issued an arrest warrant for a man who’s been accused of running a gay bar and could now face ten years in jail.

According to a report by the Daily Trust newspaper, the High Court in the town of Badagry, in the state of Lagos, ordered the “immediate arrest” of the 47-year-old man, identified as Schedrak Azuu.

It’s been alleged that Azuu is the owner of a private members-only gay bar in the area, called “Izu home for real men”, located along the Lagos-Badagry highway.

“It is believed that the bar owner organises men friends for those who are gay for a fee,” a source earlier alleged to Daily Trust.

Previous local press reports have indicated that Azuu and five others, including two staff members, were first arrested in February for operating the bar when a member of the public, Richard Okeke, lodged a complaint with the authorities.

The complaint led to a police raid on the bar and a search for the owner. Azuu was arrested and then released after being questioned but it appears that he then failed to appear in court as directed.

Gay sex is illegal in Nigeria, with penalties including 14 years imprisonment. Twelve northern states in Nigeria operate under Islamic Sharia law that allows homosexuality to be punished with death by stoning.

The Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, enacted in 2014, outlaws any kind of same-sex relationship with 14 years’ imprisonment.  The law also punishes establishing, supporting, and participating in gay organisations, clubs and public displays of affection with 10 years in prison.

Human Rights Watch has reported that the law has led to an increase in extortion and violence against LGBT people and has also imposed restrictions on nongovernmental organisations providing essential services to LGBT people in Nigeria.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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