A 44-year old man, Kehinde Tijani, has accused the Nigeria police of torturing him after he was arrested along with two of his friends accused of being gay.
Recounting his ordeal to National Daily, Tijani said it all started when a friend of his simply identified as Abiola Samuel visited him at his residence in Ikorodu along with a male companion on 17th of April this year in the afternoon.
“Two hours into their visit, two security men forcefully entered my house, and arrested my guests and myself. We were arrested and detained at the Ikorodu Police station without any explanation.”
Tijani said he was later accused of harboring and protecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) persons. “While in custody, I was beaten and humiliated by officers of the Nigeria police, calling me all manner of degrading names,” Tijani explained.
He said it took his lawyer days to secure his bail while the case was adjourned till 10th of July 2017.
According to him, while still in Police custody, local vigilante group, otherwise referred to as ‘Onyabo’ attacked his house, abducted his cousin and wife.
He said it took the intervention of the Landlord Association in the community before the two abducted family members were released, necessitating his relocation from the community to Kwara state.
Tijani said he had also received several threat letters and phone calls threatening to destroy his family for associating with gay people, an allegation he denied.
Meanwhile the police have denied the allegation. When contacted by National Daily, police authorities said Tijani was arrested for contravening the law and was subsequently charged to court.
According to the police, Tijani after being granted bail by the court has since absconded and has been declared wanted by the police. “Nobody tortured him while in our custody, I wonder where that accusation is coming from because he was well treated and promptly charged to court without delay,” the police had said in a statement.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Nigeria face legal and social challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.
The maximum punishment in the twelve northern states that have adopted Shari’a law is death by stoning. That law applies to all Muslims and to those who have voluntarily consented to application of the Shari’a courts.
In southern Nigeria and under the secular criminal laws of northern Nigeria, the maximum punishment for same-sex sexual activity is 14 years’ imprisonment. The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act criminalises all forms of same-sex unions and same-sex marriage throughout the country.