The Piece That Queries A System That Takes Pride In Subjugating And Violating The Rights Of Its Minorities

The Piece That Queries A System That Takes Pride In Subjugating And Violating The Rights Of Its Minorities

This piece was written by Kritzmoritz

I haven’t made a blog entry is a very long time but the recent incident of official blackmail against a hated community stirs me to action. It is said we acquiesce to evil by our silence and I don’t intend to play on the wrong side of history.

Last week, men of the Lagos State Police Command in Owode Onirin area of the state raided an HIV testing event for the gay community organised by a US based group, Population Council. Initial report was that they arrested 42 people and went to press with news that they were “caught in the act” – a term that seemed to suggest that there was something seedy or malicious going on.

The boys have since been subjected to all sorts of physical and emotional abuse. They have been variously blackmailed to part with huge sums of money to regain their freedom. While the Population Council got their staff released almost immediately, only the very privileged few among the victims were able to source funds to “bail” (read, ransom) themselves to regain their freedom.

However, on Thursday, the unfortunate rest were herded into buses and driven to court where they were charged with offences bothering on sexual assault. Forty people (28 adults and 12 minors) were arraigned before two Lagos Magistrate Courts on one count charge of engaging in homosexuality. The minors were arraigned before an Ebute-Metta Magistrate Court, while the adults were arraigned before a Yaba Magistrate Court. According to the criminal charge, the defendants were said to have “on or about 29th July, 2017, at Vintage Hotel, No. 999 Ikorodu Road/Toyin Close, Weigh Bridge, Owode Onirin, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did engage in gay activities by permitting male persons to have canal knowledge of themselves against the order of nature and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”

The Section 261 deals with sexual assault:

(1) Any person who sexually touches another person without his consent is guilty of a felony and liable to imprisonment for three years.

The charge suggests that something untoward may have happened between some people at the event. Meaning, there is an accuser (the unwilling participant) and the accused. After planting seeds of hate with outlandish claims of “caught in the act” in the news media, it now merely turns out that all the brouhaha was a sexual assault case which inevitably should be against a handful of people against someone.

How this translates to arrest of 40+ people attending an HIV testing event becomes confusing.

The presiding judge granted them bail in the sum of five hundred thousand naira each with two sureties that must show three years tax certificate for Lagos State. Boys who were unable to make bail at the police station must provide N500,000 for the “heinous offense” of attending an HIV testing event where a sexual assault incident happened between a couple of people. They will be spending the next few days/weeks/months/years at the force criminal headquarters (panti) and possibly, in the country’s most notorious maximum security prison, Kirikiri, until they are able to perfect their bail conditions. And as if, the government itself knew the raid was unjust and that the boys did assemble for an HIV testing program, the prosecution team led by Adetutu Oshinusi from the Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP, Lagos State Ministry of Justice urged the Court to direct the defendants to submit themselves to the Lagos State Aids Control Agency (LSACA) for monitoring and Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) for rehabilitation. Unless, the Lagos State government assumes every gay person to be HIV positive, the request by the prosecution can only be a tacit acknowledgment of the true events

In all of this, despite the absurdity of it all, we have watched in silence as various interest groups – some not entirely altruistic in their intentions, but all certainly with their own unique agenda – engage in unnecessary squabbles to be the face of the case. Some “wise” ones have even gone on to begin some form of fundraising on behalf of these victims. A smart way of commercializing a tragedy. Meanwhile, the desperate lives of these boys are at stake in a dirty, vicious and unforgiving jail. For those who don’t know, Panti, where they are being held, is a criminal police division where murderers, armed robbers and the very worst elements of criminality are held. Gays are no better, it will seem.

It has to be said that there is something fundamentally wrong with a system that takes pride in subjugating and violating the rights of its minorities. First, it was the mobs represented by the religious right and pseudo cultural purists that began the blackmail against these sexual minorities; then the legislature gave vent to the jungle justice by blackmailing them with a populist-tinged anti-gay bill; and then the Goodluck Jonathan executive sought to gain political capital by still blackmailing them on the throes of an election loss. The police have now been deployed to blackmail agenda.

Only last week, The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs), a front-line minority rights NGO raised alarm and reported to the police authorities that some of its men were registering on gay social networks, basically catfishing and running some form of sting operation against gays. The reality was however different. There was no such thing as sting operations. It was classic blackmail and extortion from victims. TIERs shared the photo of one Titus Temitope, a very evil police officer that did an extortion on Sunday, 23rd of July with bank transfer evidence of N100,000 that was fleeced from a victim. It seems that the magic number for sexual minorities in Nigeria today is in the hundreds of thousands. At the minimum, it is an amount that is more than 5 times the national minimum wage.

The Nigerian socio-political system is riddled with so many inconsistencies that this latest assault on fundamental freedoms is expected to ginger a failing nation into a common cause once again. Gays are the soft targets when matters of state incompetence need a distraction.

But why do Nigerians retain this whimsical interest in gays? They spend productive hours brooding over everything gay and ascending Google’s ranking as the most voracious online consumers of gay porn on the continent. The interest is so palpable that you could be forgiven to think that this nation of 200 million people is at war with gays and that gays have overrun the country.

But this is not so. This is a shadowy attempt to shame, humiliate and place a helpless group of people in the spotlight. It is an affront on the human intelligence. It is unconscionable, wicked and downright evil. I hope the collective efforts to find a resolution on this matter for the victims are found quickly and they be returned safely to their families.

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22 Comments

  1. trystham
    August 04, 10:23 Reply

    While its cool the Pop Council took their own out of this mess, I find it annoying that the defenses of these guys were weak. Yet again, I am not surprised. Reasoning dies at the mention of the word ‘homo’

    • ParisHilton Bff
      August 04, 11:03 Reply

      There is nothing “cool” about what the pop council did. They basically abandoned the rest of the guys honouring their event. Its quite sad really what this poor boys are going through just for showing up to a seemly innocent event.

      • trystham
        August 04, 11:34 Reply

        True. ‘cool’ doesn’t quite depict what I mean. ‘Understandable’ more like

  2. Foxydevil
    August 04, 11:07 Reply

    As much as I think the treatment is unjust and inhuman ,let us not forget that our constitution is against homosexuality and this was enacted into law that should be binding.
    If the men were indeed caught in a program that was organized for homosexuals, then technically they are assumed homosexuals and will be treated like criminals…. There is no case here, as long as the law stipulated that the act is a criminal offence (however ridiculous this may sound) we have no right to protest their treatment as long as we are still citizens of the country.
    I can’t over emphasise on being careful, a lot of gay people have gotten so careless with their acts ,they forget that everyone and everything is against them.
    This long article won’t solve anything unless the law is modified, as long as is still what it is, the police are well within their rights to mistreat them ….sadly the criminal law of Nigeria made no provision for the human treatment of criminals, that’s why police beat up people in ordinary cell and no one questions them.
    All we can do now is find a way to donate to help them make bail. I heard 24 amongst them tested positive to HIV, that’s another scary thing, especially if they are arraigned and dragged off to prison for a lengthy amount of time.

    • trystham
      August 04, 12:08 Reply

      I may be wrong, but there should be clear cut distinctions between claiming homosexuality as an identity and actually engaging in homosexual acts WHICH IS THE ILLEGALITY here. They were caught for engaging in ‘non-natural’ relations not for being a people and we all know they weren’t having sex where they had gone. They cannot ASSUME. They have to prove it. Good luck with them doing that without contravening a number of laws in the meanwhile

      • Malik
        August 04, 21:34 Reply

        I was nodding to what foxydevil said. But what trystham said makes more sense. You could follow the trail of suspected homosexuals but no arrest should be made till the suspects have performed an act that contravenes the law. You can’t be convicted for thinking of murder or rape. You have to do it first.

        So the arrest remains criminal. And heinous. And unfair. It brings to mind how unsafe we all are. We definitely need to be careful.

        • Pankar
          August 04, 22:32 Reply

          Can you be arrested for identifying as a murderer or rapist?

          • trystham
            August 05, 06:00 Reply

            If they can prove you are not insane or hysterical and the crimes u shud be claiming to av done av actually been committed, why not? But no try am 4 naija o. With her inept police and ready mob

      • Black Dynasty
        August 04, 22:51 Reply

        You are right, however most of those men do not have the money to afford lawyers who can argue their case. Most probably don’t even know what the law says specifically or what their rights are.

        It’s a shame really, their pics are plastered all over the other blogs like they’re criminals…. just sad.

    • ken George
      August 04, 13:51 Reply

      well said. spoken like a lawyer. Some people often throw caution to wind in the name of “being themselves”…this is not france or germany or some other western country. The rule of thumb should always be to watch your back and mind where you carry your legs. dont tempt fate.

    • Tiercel de Claron
      August 05, 00:48 Reply

      Our “constitution” is not against homosexuality,this is sheer ignorance talking.
      And what have been criminalized in our laws are homosexual acts, not being homosexuals.Proving a criminal act in court without conforming to the rules of evidence,as appears in this case?. Goodluck with that.

    • Gad
      August 28, 22:39 Reply

      The first part of your comment might be unpopular amongst members of the LGBTQ community but its the stark reality and truth.

  3. Pankar
    August 04, 11:47 Reply

    The right form of angling is to attack the law. Advocacy. Dont loose hope you all.

  4. Victor Ukpa
    August 05, 08:20 Reply

    You are disgrace for this article Maurice! Where have you been all these while when CRH and MHBI have been canvassing for funds and protecting the community. You should be ashamed of yourself and I will make sure I show Christy this article to deal with you

    • Lotanna
      August 05, 08:45 Reply

      niccur please swerve to the left!!! To the left abeg…
      This is apparently not how to solicit for funds.

  5. Kritzmoritz
    August 05, 10:14 Reply

    Victor,
    Your dossier on CRH, along with the activities of your boss Christy in inducing the forced testing of these people will be reported to USAID. Your decision to expose these peoples status to the world will be dealt with. I am collecting all the information and I will make sure that those sponsors you have hoodwinked into supporting your terrible NGO will withdraw. You violated the rights to privacy, worked with state agents to humiliate fellow men and induced forced testing which goes against every agreement you idiots signed as HTS. You used a tragedy to be ragging for money. I will see that you are exposed. While ARHDI was busy smuggling medications to these people, you were busy hugging headlines. See Ehn, when am done with you guys, the next time you hear my name, you will take flight. Whether it be in Naija or in the US, I will make sure that your story is told.

    • Francis
      August 05, 13:09 Reply

      Wawu! We dey await the expose and please be safe man. This one sounds very dangerous!

  6. Pankar
    August 05, 10:16 Reply

    How does the two relate? (not) raising funds and bemoaning the inhuman treatment on these young people, as though they are mutually exclusive?

  7. Jane
    August 05, 13:41 Reply

    Sad,so sad.
    I’m not impressed at all with what I’m seeing here and with your “community”,admin.
    Looks like they’re your typical bunch of fucktards.

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