The Nightmare of Nigeria’s Homophobia Still Thrives

The Nightmare of Nigeria’s Homophobia Still Thrives

The persecution of the Nigerian LGBT community is very much alive and well.

Believe me.

I was in court a couple of days ago, before Hon. Justice H.O. Ozoh at the High Court Ogidi, when the sixth case on the court’s list of cases for the day was called up.

Nzube Okonkwo was accused of what the law calls: “Indecent Practices Between Males.”

I was struck with terror and embarrassment at the same time. It was all so surreal to me.

Section 199 of the Criminal Code Law of Anambra State provides that:

“Any male person who, whether in public or private commits any act of gross indecency with another male person, or procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person with himself or with another male person, whether in public or private, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.”

I don’t know all the facts of that case. But it was revealed in court on that day that:

1. The accused person has been in prison custody since 2010 (Seven donkey years!) for an offence that carries a penalty of a 3-year jail sentence. (This is very bad!)

2. The complainant in the case has already died

3. None of the witnesses called by the prosecution was willing to come and testify against the accused person. (Phew!)

The presiding judge admonished the accused to “be of good behaviour”, “focus on girls” and “leave his fellow men alone”. He even suggested punishment for women who engage in “gross indecency with women” (the state law has no punishment for such apparently) and also cracked a joke off record by suggesting castration for men in such offences.

The court subsequently discharged the accused. (Lucky chap.)

However, he was discharged, but not acquitted. This means he was not found to be innocent of the charge against him. There is still the (unlikely) chance he may be charged to court again on the same facts.

I provided these details so that you can get a certified copy of the court proceedings if you feel like.

What do we do as a community to put an end to this nightmare?

Written by Legal Koboko

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19 Comments

  1. KryxxX
    March 14, 08:29 Reply

    **sigh** ? ? ? ?. When being you becomes a crime.. …….living a lie becomes the next best thing after slice bread. Ike gwuru.. .. . I am tired.

    And the thought that ladies don’t have a similar law for them just shows how this conservative lots reek with hypocrisy and stupidity! Two ladies getting down will turn the ewus on but the thought of two men just holding hands ? .. ….. Mbanu! Tufiakwa!

  2. Xavier Thicc
    March 14, 09:15 Reply

    Legal koboko…

    Its like we were in the same tempo and spirit yesterday…
    While yours was in the east,mine was in ugwu Hausa…kano to be precise…

    My office happens to have branches in some parts of the country…kano inclusive…

    So I stumbled upon a file in the office last week..I went through it,asked my colleagues why nobody has taken interest in that case…all of them showed huge disgust for such,that they won’t partake in the ‘cursed case’..

    My boss is highly homophobic.. She hates them with huge passion,I could remember one day at a State CID,we went for something else,we were asked to wait at one of the open rooms when they brought three guys with handcuffs..
    What was their offences?They asked..
    They were told that the guys lures little children on the way back from school with biscuits and sweets to make them have sex with them..
    The annoying thing was that they brought the kids as small as 3years old to the station…they were all in their uniforms… One was even crying because of the hurt he felt down there… It was not a pleasant atmosphere…

    My boss started raining curses on them..I did as if I did not know what happened..
    I took a newspaper, glued it to my face,pretending as if I was reading yet still stealing glances at the guys on the floor…

    She was very angry.. That she said “any day any of my sons comes to tell me he is gay,I will kill him”,cursed people,evil spirits candidates and all…she continued…
    Yet I didn’t speak a word..later she asked me why didn’t I say anything when every body was insulting the guys..I told her that I was engrossed with the newspaper I was reading,I was not really following that,I lied..
    She asked me if I knew who they were, I said No,I lied again…she started and I was forced to listen…

    On our way out of the station,I quickly asked the Police man in charge if the guys have a lawyer, he said No,I wrote my number and gave him and I took his,this I did without my boss knowing..

    Later,I called him he said both parents are trying to settle the issue,they were not interested in going to court…I said OK..

    That is how my boss can be…

    Now back to my earlier story..I went to my boss and asked her that we have a case in kano and I would want to go for it since nobody wants to take it up..
    She asked me what the case was about, I told her,she shouted at me,said a lot of things,said if I want to go,I should go but no money will be given to me from the office,that I was on my own..

    I was at a fix,not that I have enough but I thought of the terrain,kano?
    I was scared because of how they react..
    I was scared but didn’t show it…
    From Lagos I boarded to kano…Before then I spoke with a Facebook friend who I have not seen, told him about the case, he gave me the right words,that was all I needed…

    I went ..got to kano…went straight to the court, had a brief session with the guys…then when the case came up,I cross examined the three witnesses the prosecution brought, all their answers didn’t add up,they gave different strange accounts,none could say they saw the guys at it,none could said they heard anything or saw any incriminating thing on them…all they had was that the guys were suspected to be gays and the Muslims guys around went to report to the police..

    I applied for no case submission after that, the judge asked us to pick a date for ruling,I prevailed on the judge to be mindful of the distance I was coming from(besides, these guys didn’t give me anything, at least not yet)..he obliged and asked for 20 minutes stand down,went into his chambers to rule,he came out and ruled in our favor…

    I was happy, I didn’t know when tears came down from my eyes, these guts have been there for 4 years on mere suspicion…

    My leaving the court was war,as crowds gathered, feeding me,some with sticks,clubs and all…they came for me…

    It took the intervention of the soldiers to get me out of there…

    I was happy,I was fulfilled… But it was risky,I had to take the plunge…

    This is the little sacrifices we make to see that our quota counts..

    News got to my boss about the victory, let me go to the office to hear what she would say..

    • Delle
      March 14, 09:49 Reply

      Whatever it is, know it that you did the right thing and that a lot of people like myself hold you in high esteem for your courage and humanity.
      Thank you, Xavier. We need more people like you.

    • Ivory Child
      March 14, 10:15 Reply

      Mr Xavier we really need to talk, I can learn so much from your experience as a fellow counsel

      • Xavier Thicc
        March 14, 12:56 Reply

        Ivory child,I am still learning myself…i would want to learn from you too…

        I Dont know how we can talk here as I really Dont have a functional email address to follow up…

        So I Dont know really…except pinky would permit,I may share my pin here…

        Thanks @ pinky,francis…I have always said.. I have been begging God to grant me such cases if I don’t defend them with my life..

    • Francis
      March 14, 12:02 Reply

      May fate be mega kind to you in your time of need and desperation. A million thanks for your contribution to the struggle. ??????

    • Mitch
      March 14, 13:43 Reply

      Thank you, Xavier.

      Just know this: the good you do would someday find its way back to you.

    • Canis VY Majoris
      March 14, 16:38 Reply

      Inspiring story Xavier. I’d write a movie script about it. With the right embellishments it could become a great story worthy of international recognition. Only issue is no Nigerian producer would want it??

      We have to do more guys, we have to fight in spite of the risks & dangers, we just have to, because living like this hurts, badly.

    • Ivory Child
      March 14, 19:18 Reply

      Xavier can you send your pin through pinky’s e-mail address?

    • ambivalentone
      March 16, 06:46 Reply

      Restricting the inhumanity to a gay narrative is pretty much localising the ineptitude of our legal system…with reason tho. We are gay. However, it’s not peculiar to just gay ppl. How many ppl have been wrongly apprehended/accused and had to spend undeserved time behind bars without even a trial? The NPF and the ‘un-learned profession’ needs a COMPLETE overhaul
      That said, how’d ur boss take the news of your victory?

  3. Delle
    March 14, 09:17 Reply

    And to them it’s a joke. They throw someone into prison without actually having a stringent cause asides sentiments and ignorance. Why else would they leave him in there even after the death of the plaintiff? Why else would he stay in prison more years than the law stipulates? These people irritate me every passing day and it’s sad, it’s sad that all we can do is vent behind torched screens.

    A supposed legal system that doesn’t have punishment for lesbians, is that one a legal system? Such disgusting clowns!

    LET’S HAVE OUR OWN STONEWALL MOVEMENT!

  4. Mitch
    March 14, 09:35 Reply

    The nightmare is indeed real. It’s a struggle we face daily, a deep seated fear that someday, we would be jailed, or worse, killed for being who we are.

    The Nigerian Legal system has become a joke, a hunting tool for the trapping and punishment of a harmless set of people over the public’s lack of understanding and empathy. Imagine being jailed on the grounds of mere unconfirmed, incoherent, indecisive suspicions. Our ignorance as a people truly stinks to high heavens.

  5. y
    March 14, 10:06 Reply

    I’ve always wondered if the average Nigerian knows that boarding schools and jails are the places where most people get to indulge in same sex activity? That’s why the thought of jailing someone for being gay always struck me as odd. I’ve watched enough prison documentaries to know that some of the gays end up “running” these prisons. Talk about “bottom” power;)

  6. UC TheMisfit
    March 14, 12:22 Reply

    The level of hate directed towards us is not humane at all. How does someone spend 7 years in prison for a ‘crime’ that carries a 3 year sentence?! How?! Obviously both family and friends deserted this individual as no one fought to get him out.

    And then Xavier’s story…no single person actually saw them, yet they were thrown in jail, and after being acquitted people wanted to still carry out mob justice on both accused and counsel.

    I’ve said it before and I’d say it again I’d physically hurt anyone that tries to hurt me cos of who I am. I’m not a believer in ‘turning the other cheek’, cos our cheeks are already bloody from being slapped. Its time we slap back.

  7. Nel
    March 14, 19:34 Reply

    Sometimes, the things that seem so important to Nigerians make me weep.
    Concern is given to trivial things based on religion, culture and whatever else their beliefs are founded upon.
    And the thought of preserving human lives come last.

    To all those doing something to change all this… Well done.
    Those yet to, it’s time to take the torch and fight for what is Right!

  8. Young Sage
    March 15, 03:10 Reply

    What do we do as a community?
    Delusional, huh?? Ewwww..
    When as a community, we are having serious trust issues. As a community, we betray our own. We backbite. We bear malice. We even have classes in the community.
    Ever seen crabs in a bucket? No one leaves. They all struggle to pull each other down, rather that plan out how to escape. Thats exactly what is happening in the LGBT nation.
    I know a couple of people who detest lesbians. Isnt that awful?
    I know alot who are gays and yet detest fellow gays.
    I know gays who detest bottoms and feminine guys.
    I know dudes who think they should associate with only selected people like them, in the name of ‘class’.
    I know people who can betray for money.
    I’ve heard of evil fellows among us, who are infected with STDs, and yet, go on having bare sex with people, in a bid to share the STD and ‘not die alone’.
    Oh, or have you not noticed the unusual death toll in the LGBT community, especially in Nigeria? I have an Edo friend who is to be buried on Thursday this week. And another in Aba who died last week. All young men.
    Do we need to make analysis of what someone who looked healthy died of?
    Lets forgot the homophobic issuses and start mending the tears from within first.
    If you want a solid house, you must have to raise a solid foundation.
    Thats what we need. Cure ourselves.
    And if there is anything else, purge religion and the God-idea.
    *takes a bow*

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