Nigeria: Ex-husband triggered raid, arrest for lesbian sex

Homophobic police + homophobic ex-husband = legal troubles for a Nigerian lesbian, as a woman in Lagos learned recently.

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)

Rita (not her real name) told the LGBTI-friendly media site that she arrested after her ex-husband found her in bed with a female friend and reported her to police. The police then invaded her house, arrested her and jailed her.

The incident reportedly happened a few weeks ago in front of the victim’s house in Lagos.

Rita told NoStrings that she had divorced her husband a few years ago after the death of her father, who had pressured her to get married.

“I knew I was a lesbian, but my father pressured me into getting married,” she said. “I did not have the energy to fight him by refusing, so I obliged. But when he died, I felt that there was no need for me to continue with the marriage since I did not love the man I was married to.”

Rita said that her ex-husband, Afolabi (not his real name), was shocked and could not understand why she wanted a divorce.  He tried to fight  it, but lost. The marriage was officially dissolved in court.

“After the divorce, I moved away from him and got my own apartment. He swore to deal with me, and never took it well. He kept on sending me threatening text messages, and kept on stalking me. I reported him to his family, but nothing changed,” Rita said.

Nigerian police logo
Nigerian police logo

On the day of the incident, Rita said that her ex-husband came to her house with some thugs who harassed her and her girlfriend, publicly humiliating and calling them lesbians. Rita stated:

“I was about to walk my girlfriend Judith to the bus stop having spent the night at my place. On opening the gate to my house and to my surprise, my ex-husband jumped out of a parked car and with two fierce-looking men and started yelling and cursing. He was screaming in his words “I know it is because of a woman you divorced me was a matter of time and I will catch you red handed. I have caught you today. So its a woman you are fucking now? You are practicing Lesbianism in Nigeria? So you left your marriage for a woman like you? Everybody come and help me see oh my wife is having sex with a fellow woman. Abomination, you will not go free, you must be punished, the whole Nigeria must hear this.” At this point, he was also taking pictures of me and my girlfriend at the scene. The two other men were physically harassing my girlfriend. I pleaded with my ex-husband to leave Onyero and deal with me as the issue was between both of us. He listened and instructed his thugs to release my girlfriend.  I asked my girlfriend to quickly board a motorcycle popularly called Okada to take her away from the scene because I sensed trouble.  I was also yelling at him and asking why he is embarrassing me and accusing me falsely? That he needs to get out of my way and that he has no right to harass me. At this point, my neighbours were already gathering and asking what as going on? while my ex-husband was busy explaining to the neighbours that I am a Lesbian and I am having sex with a fellow woman who just left on a motorcycle. I told my neighbours who had gathered that my ex-husband was lying and only want to frame me up because I left him. A small crowd had gathered and my neighbours were pleading with him to leave which he did yelling and cursing telling everyone he met that he has caught me before while I was married to him and I promised to change.

He left a few minutes later and then came back with the police, who arrested me and took me to the station. At the station, I was abused by the police officers. Then they locked me in a room along with other girls. I slept on the cold tiled floor for four days. It was a weekend and they said that I could not get bail on weekends.”

Rita said that she was eventually released after paying police what to her was a huge sum.

“I paid N62,000 [about $172] before I was bailed out. I have been asked to come back to the station at a set date to deal with the matter. I am so afraid right now and I cannot take up the case against my ex-husband.  because He is a crazy person and well-connected too. He knows where I live and where I work. I do not know what he might do to me. He said that he can even kill me and nothing will happen to him in Nigeria.”

Names, specific locations and other sensitive details have been removed from Rita’s story to protect her identity so as not to jeopardize her safety.

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Written by Mike Daemon

Mike Daemon is the pseudonym of the founder and presenter of the No Strings podcasts, based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, which provide a voice for the country’s LGBTIQ+ community. Through the No Strings website, he reports on issues affecting the lives of LGBTQ+ Nigerians. He launched and maintains the Qtalk app, which provides safe and private access to legal and psychosocial counseling for LGBTQ+ Nigerians. Contact him by email via info (at)


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