Arrest reports in Nigeria: 21 in Delta, 2 in Lagos

Map of southern Nigeria shows locations of Lagos and Asaba. (Map courtesy of the BBC)
Map of southern Nigeria shows locations of Lagos and Asaba. (Map courtesy of the BBC)

Nigeria’s homophobic and untrustworthy media has published reports — unconfirmed reports — about two sets of arrests of gay youths:

Two teenagers, ages 14 and 19, were arrested in Ikotun, near Lagos, after police allegedly caught them having anal sex, according to Absolute Naija.  The report gave their alleged names and school affiliations, but no date for the arrest. The account, published Nov. 13, was accompanied by a presumably unrelated photo of two men lying together.

Twenty-one students, ages and names unspecified, were arrested in Asaba in Delta State at two unnamed state polytechnic schools that had allegedly had become “a beehive of perverse sexual acts,” according to the Nigerian newspaper The Punch and several other Nigerian online news sites. The account in Punch, published today, was accompanied by a photo of the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Alkali Usman, who was not mentioned in the article.

Nigerian newspapers often report on alleged arrests of LGBTI people, but almost never report on any subsequent steps in the legal process, such as trials, acquittal and release, or conviction and sentencing. On investigation, some such reports have turned out to be total fabrications.

The Punch article also reiterated two myths about homosexuality that are common in Nigeria and elsewhere — that people adopt a homosexual  orientation for financial gain and that homosexuality is a result of cult activity.

For more on the bias in the Punch coverage, see commentary in the “O-blog-dee” blog.

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 info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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