Three menwere stripped naked and allegedly beaten on Monday January 14th, in Ekwe, near Umuka in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State for supposedly being homosexuals.
A group, the Nigeria HIV Info, dedicated to the protection of the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, sent out a statement alerting people about the incident and condemning the act.
In the statement signed by the group’s cordinator, Steve Aborisade, the group said it has “reliably confirmed and authenticated the incident and of the identity of one of the men.”
Mr. Aborisade called on security agents to respond to the plight of the men. “As it is, only the perpetrators and the community can tell the whole world what has become of these men who were seriously beaten up, stripped naked and paraded around the community bounded together like animals on allegation that they were caught having sex together,” Mr. Aborisade said.
Mr. Aborisade said a reliable source “reliably confirmed that the men were yet to be released from the location where they are being held in Umuka, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State.”
The group appealed to the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, to intervene to save the lives of the men.
“While acknowledging that several Nigerians find the practice of homosexuality strange and unnatural, we also realize that it does not confer a license to trample on the rights of people who engages in it, with the sort of inhuman treatment that was meted out to these them. “So many informed commentators, including Nobel Prize winner, Prof Wole Soyinka have commented on the scientifically proven fact that more than anything, gays are just victims of biology,” the group said.
Mr. Aborisade said instead of being singled out for harassment and prosecution, sexual minorities deserve support and access to sexual health services that they lack as citizens of this country.
He said sexual minorities “remain a high risk group to HIV/AIDS infection, yet it is a community that has been denied of all access to life saving HIV/AIDS services.”
“We suggest that our parliamentarians should devote equal energy at fishing out and punishing our treasury thieves who are doing more harm to the continued survival of our nation instead of dissipating energy on an issue that borders on private morality.
“We enjoin other rights group to show solidarity and ensure that the rights of sexual minorities are protected like other marginalised groups in the country,” Mr. Aborisade said.