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Dozens arrested for being gay in North Nigeria

Nigeria Anti Gay Law

By: Michelle Faul


LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Police, working off a list of 168 suspects purportedly obtained through torture, are arresting dozens of gay men in Nigeria's northern Bauchi state, human rights activists said Tuesday.

A new law in Nigeria, dubbed the "Jail the Gays" bill, is encouraging the persecution of gays and will endanger programs fighting HIV-AIDS in the gay community, said Dorothy Aken'Ova, executive director of Nigeria's International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights.

On Monday, President Goodluck Jonathan's office confirmed that the Nigerian leader signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act that criminalizes gay marriage, gay organizations and anyone working with or promoting them.

In Bauchi state, police entrapped four gay men and tortured them into naming others, Aken'Ova said. She said the police have drawn up a list of 168 wanted gay men, of whom 38 have been arrested in recent weeks.

She said the arrests began during the Christmas holidays and blamed "all the noise that was going on surrounding the (same sex marriage prohibition) bill."

The chairman of Bauchi state Shariah Commission, Mustapha Baba Ilela, told the AP that 11 men have been arrested in the past two weeks and charged with belonging to a gay organization. He denied anyone had been tortured and said all 11 - 10 Muslims and a non-Muslim - signed confessions that they belonged to a gay organization but that some of them retracted the statements when they were charged by a judge.

Shariah is Islamic law, which is implemented to different degrees in nine of 36 states.

An AIDS counselor told The Associated Press he helped get bail for the men and also said a total of 38 were arrested. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear he would be arrested. Aken'Ova's organization is providing legal services for them.

The AIDS counselor said the arrests were sparked by a rumor that the United States paid $20 million to gay activists to promote same-sex marriage in this highly religious and conservative nation.

The United States, Britain and Canada condemned the new law in Africa's most populous nation, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that it "dangerously restricts freedom" of expression and association of all Nigerians.

Jonathan's spokesman said the president signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act on Jan. 7, providing penalties of up to 14 years in jail for a gay marriage and up to 10 years' imprisonment for membership or encouragement of gay club, societies and organizations.

The U.N. agency to fight AIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria expressed "deep concern that access to HIV services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will be severely affected by a new law in Nigeria - further criminalizing LGBT people, organizations and activities, as well as people who support them."

The law also criminalizes people and groups who support "the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies and organizations, processions or meetings in Nigeria." Those convicted could be jailed for 10 years.

UNAIDS said the law could harm Jonathan's own presidential initiative to fight AIDS, started a year ago.

It said Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic globally with an estimated 3.4 million people living with HIV. The disease affects many more gay men than heterosexuals, with 2010 statistics estimating national HIV prevalence at 4 percent compared to 17 percent among gay men, according to UNAIDS.

Jonathan has not publicly expressed his views on homosexuality.

His spokesman, Reuben Abati, told The Associated Press on Monday night, "This is a law that is in line with the people's cultural and religious inclination. So it is a law that is a reflection of the beliefs and orientation of Nigerian people. ... Nigerians are pleased with it."

___

Associated Press writer Shehu Saulawa contributed to this report from Bauchi, Nigeria.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
MamaBear January 14 2014 at 3:49 PM

"Jonathan has not publicly expressed his views on homosexuality"??? I think his views on homosexuality (as well as civil liberties and the concept of justice) have been made excruciatingly clear.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
myzebra777 January 14 2014 at 5:14 PM

Wow!! If you hate somebody...anybody...post here!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
JoJo myzebra777 January 14 2014 at 5:39 PM

i dislike Madonna but wouldn't want her to be tortured..well probably not anyway '-)

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Brandi Lee January 15 2014 at 8:27 AM

President Jonathan should have a law where he has the internet scammers arrested and jailed. Nigeria is known as the SCAM CAPITAL of the world. If he really wants to clean up his countries perception from the world; he should shut down these sites and arrest the scammers who have caused hundreds of injuries to innocent people and numerous suicides from the victims. STOP THE SCAMMERS OF NIGERIA, IN LAGOS, IKEJA

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
clovercuts Brandi Lee January 15 2014 at 9:26 AM

I think that's a bad idea... if you are stupid enough to fall for the scams then you get what you deserve and life goes on. However, the gay community over there is 3 million plus. and a very large amount of them have AIDS. That is a financial strain and a health issue as well as a moral issue for a religious country. It is not the US. or G.B. // I think we should set up web sites that offer Nigerians a cure for AIDS for a small fee of 200,000 dollars but they can't tell anyone because they supply would run out. And if they act fast we will through in a set of Ginseng knives absolutely free.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
JAYKING53 clovercuts January 15 2014 at 12:13 PM

Lol

Flag 0 rate up
Mr Money clovercuts January 15 2014 at 1:51 PM

i got a better idea, letum all die

Flag 0 rate up
Chip January 15 2014 at 8:17 AM

Looks like "multiculturalism" falls apart rather quickly when a culture does something that doesn't fall in lockstep agreement with the Leftist dogma.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
LL January 14 2014 at 7:36 PM

NIGERIA, The ONLY place on earth, where (apparently) Fire & Brimstone will NOT fall upon !

Flag Reply +10 rate up
germanykirt January 15 2014 at 7:43 AM

Let's Evaluate & Analyze this story:

A) You have an Infectious Disease (HIV/AIDS) that has claimed many lives.
B) Illusions of politics, religion, right & wrong only serve to distract you from the...

Fact: HIV/AIDS has claimed countless lives of both Heterosexuals as well as Homosexuals.

The Real Leaders are the people actively researching a cure for this disease and many others. For the Disease itself is the true Culprit and does not discriminate on who it kills.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
maxcranium January 15 2014 at 7:00 AM

We are all born to lust.
But if you want to follow God, you must do what he says.
We are all given a free will to choose for ourselves.
So it's up to you...

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
bshesler maxcranium January 15 2014 at 7:54 AM

Jesus said don't judge !

Flag Reply 0 rate up
clovercuts maxcranium January 15 2014 at 8:20 AM

Following "God" whom ever one follows, God never spoke a word. God does not judge. God does not demand. It is only mankind who does these things. Mankind who makes rules for others. The hypocrisy is overwhelming. And there is nothing wrong with lusting. And then there is the laughing part that GOD is a he.
Only man and his vanity would think that God would be male. God is neither male or female. God is the spirit that lives in all humanity. In all things living.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
mkwrblwsk clovercuts January 15 2014 at 9:09 AM

You must not have read The Bible because when Christ returns there will be a judgement day by God.

Flag +1 rate up
whitesofpcb January 14 2014 at 5:30 PM

Someone actually taking care it

Flag Reply +1 rate up
fauxbay2 January 14 2014 at 7:01 PM

I wish they would arrest the africans that keep telling me that they are royalty and need help getting money into my account!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
bobparks77 fauxbay2 January 14 2014 at 7:09 PM

Like obammy. ?? Me too.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Page bobparks77 January 14 2014 at 8:10 PM

Silly hick

Flag 0 rate up
Stephen fauxbay2 January 14 2014 at 7:23 PM

Gee I hope they don't arrest the Nigerian banker who is trying to send me $15 million dollars if I will just send him the $3,000 he needs in order to ship it.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Vimala Nowlis January 14 2014 at 7:00 PM

Strange that being gay in Nigeria is illegal and can get you arrested but sending unsolicited spams out to fleece others is legal and no one bothers you.
So glad we got out of Africa millions of years ago and developed civilizations in Europe and Asia.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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