Silent suffering in homophobic Lagos
Publish date: 04 December 2017
Issue Number: 754
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
It was a life-changing moment for Daniels when five police officers in Lagos locked him in the back of a van two years ago. The officers scrolled through the photos on his mobile phone and threatened to tell his father that his son was gay. ‘I kept strong in front of them, but the truth is I cried in my room. It was a life-turning point. Something inside of me broke,’ he said. A report on the News24 site notes that he had only just come to understand and accept that he was gay in a country where homosexuality is banned. Now he takes care to cultivate what he says is an ‘androgenous look’, watching how he walks, talks and what clothes he wears. Memories of that day in 2015 came flooding back to Daniels when he heard that more than 80 people had been arrested at a Lagos hotel in early August. The state government said those detained had been engaging in ‘gay activities’ and ‘permitting male persons to have carnal knowledge of themselves against the order of nature’. Twenty-eight suspects are expected to appear in court soon and risk up to 14 years in prison if they are convicted. The report notes that 12 minors have been tried behind closed doors but it is unclear what has happened to them. Cases involving the remainder appear to have been lost in the judicial system.