Nigeria: Police nab suspected gay man. Fine: $111

Nigerian police on July 2 arrested a man at a hotel bar in Asaba on accusations that he was gay, then negotiated a monetary payment before agreeing to set him free.

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)

Police arrested Victor [not his real name] at the hotel after receiving complaints from a man who said that Victor bombarded him with unwanted advances and sent him obscene pictures on private social media chats, a local human rights activist told NoStringsNG.com.

The activist said Victor was lured to the hotel by the accuser, who had already booked a hotel room and invited Victor to join him there. Immediately on his arrival at the hotel’s bar, Victor was apprehended by police, who apparently were on standby.

Victor was then taken to the DSC Roundabout police station in Asaba, where he was held in a cell. The accuser demanded that Victor pay him 48,000 naira (about U.S. $152) as reimbursement for the booked hotel room, or 500,000 naira (about U.S. $1,588) if any third party apart from his parents got involved.

Nigerian police logo
Nigerian police logo

Victor’s family begged for a lower payment and the Divisional Police Officer [name withheld] agreed, setting a sum of 35,000 naira (about U.S. $111) to settle the case. Victor was later released.

Human rights activists condemned such coercion, which is a frequent practice in the country. Nigerians often take advantage of the vulnerable nature of LGBT persons due to the country’s hostility toward their sexual orientation.

Activists warn members of the LGBT community to be more cautious in their interactions with people barely known to them, especially those  they connect with on the internet.

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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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