The victim of a recent anti-gay blackmail attack has named a Nollywood star’s ex-husband as one of the men involved in the crime.
By Mike Daemon
In Nigeria, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people are continual victims of anti-gay blackmail and violent attacks based on their real or perceived sexual orientation. Security agents and hotel owners often take part in these crimes and enjoy impunity because the law does not protect the rights of sexual minorities in the country, leaving them vulnerable to all sorts of hate crimes.
A typical example is that of a young man who was blackmailed and brutalized at a Lagos hotel last week after he visited someone he had connected with recently.
A close friend of the victim broke the news of the ordeal to the LGBTI rights website NoStringsNG, saying that the victim [name withheld], who also resides in Lagos, was blackmailed and attacked by a group of men at La Veronique Hotel located at 14 Oregunwa Street.
The victim identified Shile Ataru as the person whom he had gone to meet at the hotel.
Ataru lists on his Facebook profile that he is a designer and also a graduate of Babcock University.
The victim’s hotel room reportedly was broken into by a group of thugs and anti-gay cultists, apparently arranged by Ataru, who was found seated with the victim. The victim was brutalized. When he screamed, that alerted the management of the hotel.
The hotel owner, who was identified by the victim as Lanre Gentry, the ex-husband of popular Nollywood actress Mercy Aigbe, allegedly urged the victim to comply with the blackmailer’s demands so that he would be freed. When the victim pleaded that he had no money, Gentry asked hotel staff members to throw him out.
After a series of abuses and beatings, the victim paid N50,000 (about $138) to the criminals and then was allowed to go.
NoStringsNG reached out to the victim, who says that he is interested in pressing charges if he gets the needed support to do so.
Both Gentry and Ataru have been asked to respond to the allegations against them. So far, no response has been received.
Source: Rights Africa
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