Africa

42 Nigerians granted bail, face homosexuality charges

On Facebook, LGBTI rights activist Jide Macaulay announces and praises the men's release.

On Facebook, LGBTI rights activist Jide Macaulay announces and praises the men’s release.

A Nigerian court on Aug. 4 granted bail for up to 42 men and boys facing homosexuality charges after their arrest during an HIV awareness event last weekend, several news accounts say.

This blog is seeking specifics about how many of the arrestees have been released and how many remain in detention until they are able to pay the bail of 500,000 naira (about US $1,375). Here’s what we found: 30 Nigerians remain in custody on homosexuality charges.

The Washington Blade reported:

“A Nigerian court on Thursday granted bail to the 42 men who were arrested during an HIV awareness event.”

An article credited to Agence France-Presse in The Sherbrooke Times stated:

The State government of Lagos has brought to the court Thursday, 40 people, including 12 minors, “accused” of homosexuality, regarded as a criminal offence punishable by 14 years in prison in Nigeria.

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

Map of southern Nigeria shows location of Lagos. (Map courtesy of the BBC)

Twenty-eight adults, all male, were present before the court of Justice of Lagos, after a police custody of four days. They are accused “of having committed homosexual acts and encouraging of men to meet in the perpetration of the facts against the order of nature”. …

For their part, the minors appeared … before another Court, without any details being revealed to the press.

All the accused have pleaded not guilty, and are now released on bail (500,000 naira, or 1150 euros) pending trial.

The Washington Blade reported further:

Police on July 29 raided the Vincent Hotel in Weigh Bridge in Owode Onirin, Ikorodu, where the men were arrested for allegedly performing same-sex sexual acts. Gay rights activist Bisi Alimi told the BBC the event was designed to promote HIV testing and counseling among Nigeria’s LGBT community.

The Lagos State government on Thursday tweeted pictures of some of the men with a caption “28 adults being arraigned for engaging in homosexuality before the Yaba Magistrate Court by Lagos State Government today, August 3, 2017.” Rev. Jide Macaulay, a gay rights activist, on Facebook confirmed their release.

“Nigeria: All 42 alleged LGBT arrested released by court on bail. Thanks & well done to all the activists on the frontline,” he wrote.

Nigeria is among the countries with stringent anti-gay laws.

In 2014, the Nigerian Senate made homosexuality illegal when it passed the “Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill.” The law allows up to a 14-year jail term for those entering into same-sex marriages or relationships; those witnessing, aiding or abetting LGBT-related activities and the public display of same-sex relationships.

According to the Sherbrooke Times article:

Last Saturday, 42 people were arrested in a hotel in Owode-Onirin, a poor neighborhood, and disreputable in the extreme north of Lagos, after a police raid.

“According to residents of the area, some of them were known for their homosexuality,” said Olarinde Famous-Cole, spokesman of police for Lagos State to justify the mass arrest.

According to a source … contacted by AFP, dozens of young people had gathered for a party held in the lobby of a hotel, where an association was also advice on the risk of HIV.

The [heterosexual brother of] one of the participants triggered a violent brawl, which attracted the attention of the police. Officers arrested about 70 people, but a large number of them were able to escape by paying bribes.

(This article was revised on Aug. 6 to incorporate an acknowledgment of the uncertainty about how many of the arrested men have been released on bail.)

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5 thoughts on “42 Nigerians granted bail, face homosexuality charges

  1. Pingback: Poem for Nigerian arrestees: ’42 … forbidden … for too long’ | 76 CRIMES

  2. Whoa, hold on a second. Being granted bail of 500,000 naira and needing to secure two civil servant sureties IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING RELEASED!

    Show me that any of these men have been released. I can almost guarantee that none have.

    Stop patting ourselves on the back until we get the facts straight.

    Like

  3. Pingback: 30 Nigerians remain in custody on homosexuality charges | 76 CRIMES

  4. Pingback: Nigerian activists: Here are facts about the 42 arrests | 76 CRIMES

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