Nigerian police arrest 6 on homosexuality charges

Widely distributed photo of 6 arrestees in Benin City.
Widely distributed photo of 6 arrestees in Benin City.

Nigerian police arrested six men in Benin City on charges of homosexual activity on May 9 and 11, Nigerian media reported yesterday.

In typically homophobic fashion, the publications called the arrestees “six members of a Benin City gay gang.”

Musa Daura, the area’s assistant inspector general of police, ordered the men, ages 20 to 28, to be paraded in front of photographers and released their names, which puts them in jeopardy of reprisals by anti-gay neighbors, even if they are freed. Daura said the men had confessed to engaging in homosexual activity since 2006.

“This is indeed terrible,” the Nigerian LGBTIQ podcast NoStrings commented:

“There was and there is still is no evidence whatsoever to prove that these men are homosexuals other than their said confession that they might have provided under duress or out of fear. …

“The suspects have not yet been convicted of any crime, so why release their names to the media? To be defamed?

“NoStrings condemns these very actions and calls for an unbiased and careful look into this issue by concerned entities.”

Map of Nigeria shows the location of Benin City.

Daura said five of the suspects were apprehended on May 9 in the area of 12 Ikpoba Slope, Benin City, Edo State. The sixth was arrested near Benson Idahosa University on May 11 as he was trying the escape the city, Daura said.

The men are scheduled to be arraigned in court next week.

Daura described homosexuality as “as a disturbing trend.” He added, “This offense is an offense against humanity and nature, an abominable act that should be condemned in every ramification by all.”‎

Nigerian law provides for up to a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts involving either men or women, as well as prison sentences for “public show of same-sex amorous relationship,” for belonging to a gay organization and for  participating in a same-sex wedding.

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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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