Roundup of dozens of gay men in Nigeria

Location of Bauchi state in Nigeria (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)
Location of Bauchi state in Nigeria (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)

Associated Press reports that police are arresting dozens of gay men in northern Nigeria who are on a list of 168 suspects that human rights activists say was compiled from information obtained by torture.

Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan recently signed into law the so-called “Jail the Gays” bill, which provides for prison sentences of 10 years and more for people who display same-sex affection in public or belong to associations of LGBT people.

In Nigeria’s northern Bauchi state, police tortured four gay men and forced them to name others, said Dorothy Aken’Ova, executive director of Nigeria’s International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights.

She said  38 of them have been arrested, beginning around Christmas time. AP also reported:

The chairman of Bauchi state Shariah Commission, Mustapha Baba Ilela, told the AP that 11 men have been arrested in the past two weeks and charged with belonging to a gay organization. He denied anyone had been tortured and said all 11 — 10 Muslims and a non-Muslim — signed confessions that they belonged to a gay organization but that some of them retracted the statements when they were charged by a judge. …

An AIDS counselor told The Associated Press he helped get bail for the men and also said a total of 38 were arrested. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear he would be arrested. Aken’Ova’s organization is providing legal services for them.

The AIDS counselor said the arrests were sparked by a rumor that the United States paid $20 million to gay activists to promote same-sex marriage in this highly religious and conservative nation.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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