Words: Alastair James; picture: posed by model (Pexels)
Five men in Nigeria accused of breaking the country’s strict laws on homosexuality have been arrested after a police raid on their hideout.
The men were found hiding in the northern state of Kano on Sunday (11 July), with the head of the Islamic Police Board saying they’d received “complaints” from others of a suspected hideout.
Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria with very little protection for LGBTQs. If found guilty, the men could receive 14-year prison sentences, or be stoned to death under Sharia law.
“Shun unwholesome practices”
Commander General of the Board, Dr. Harun Ibn-Sina in a statement (as per Vanguard): "All the suspects confirmed to be above 20 years of age, were apprehended on July 11 during a special raid."
Last year, a case involving 47 men charged with public displays of affection with other men was thrown out with the judge citing a “lack of diligent prosecution”.
“Their first instinct is to judge”
Earlier this year, Attitude spoke to Bolu Okupe, the gay son of the notoriously homophobic former politician Doyin Okupe, about what it’s like in Nigeria for LGBTQs.
“I come from a hyper-religious culture where people, instead of sitting down and having conversations and trying to understand, their first instinct is to judge,” he told us.
On trying to change hearts and minds, including that of his father, he told Attitude: “I don’t think [pauses] – nothing is impossible. Education is always the key to changing people’s minds on things; education and communication, explaining and detailing your experiences to them.
“There are many people in my life who have been very homophobic, especially some girls who have been close friends. When I came out to some of these people, it really changed how they felt about the whole thing because now there’s somebody in their life who is close to them who’s gay.
“If I’m able to convince those people to stop being homophobic, I honestly think anybody is able to be convinced and brought over to the rainbow side."