The case against LGBT in Nigeria

By Sam Vincent

The universal declaration of human rights includes the right to life, right to privacy, health and equality. There is also the right to freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of being discriminated against by law or other unpleasant acts of injustice such as violence through torture.

But most parts of Africa continue to violate human rights.

In the case of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, a stigma surrounds the minds of many individuals that lesbianism or gay is a taboo that needs cleansing.

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Many people with such sexual orientation often suffer humiliation, torture, human rights violation and risk 14 years jail sentence or face mob justice if arrested. Some of the victims are killed. The Nigerian law against LGBT clearly provides punishment in form of prison sentence.

In this light, people of such orientation do not come out for fear of being humiliated. The general public also frowns and metes out jungle justice on LGBT if caught. Some victims are beaten to death. It is high time this law is revisited to align with what obtains in the western world. So many of our youth out there are running away to the western world where they are free to choose sex partners.

Lately, LGBT issues have been making headlines in Nigeria. In 2018, the police stormed a birthday party, believing it to be an LGBT night and arrested 57 people. The case is still on trial. It is unclear how many of them were released, but few could not justify their sexual orientation due to their position at the time of arrest.

The likes of Austin Igbinovia, Juliana Isedor are on the run. The case of Juliana Isedor was reopened as it was alleged that she escaped police detention in Aba, Abia State after being caught in a scenario that led to the death of her partner, Jennifer Nosa.

She was arrested by a police patrol team at Umuodi Street, off Ohanku road, and was being detained in an Aba police station. On October 15, 2017, she was said to have attacked a female police officer and escaped.

Isedor escaped from police detention three weeks before court hearing in her case. Many residents of Umuodi Street, including Ejike Emmanuel said they had been suspicious of the two ladies since they came to live in the area, stressing that they have never seen them associate with men.

They were afraid that the ladies may have introduced other girls in the area to LGBT.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Abia State, Superintendent Geoffrey Ogbonna, was unavailable for comments as of the time of writing this report. However, a senior police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed the incident.


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