An apparently furious group has spewed out outrage after the Lagos State Government arraigned 43 persons who were arrested for acts that it claimed was connected to homosexuality.
The Access to Health and Rights Development Initiative is demanding the release of the 28 adults and 12 minors who were arraigned before a Magistrate Court for allegedly engaging in homosexuality.
The authorities of Lagos state had on Friday accused a hotel owner and two of his employees of encouraging the other 40 males to have sex at the hotel.
The charges are “engaging in” and “aiding and promoting same sex sexual activities”.
While the minors were arraigned before an Ebute-Metta Magistrate Court, the adults were arraigned before a Yaba Magistrate Court. The defendants, who are all males, were arraigned separately on a one-count charge.
They were all arrested last Saturday by men of the Lagos State Police Command in Owode-Onirin area of the state.
According to the criminal charge, the defendants were said to have: “On or about July 29, 2017, at Vintage Hotel, No. 999 Ikorodu Road/Toyin Close, Weigh Bridge, Owode Onirin, Lagos, 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 adults are Adedayo Kamadupe (27), Abiodun Pedro (22), Ikechukwu Onyebuchi (32), Dike Stanley (19), Oji Charles Isioma (28), Garuba Ibrahim (21), Monday Favour (20), Ayo Marcus Ayobamidele (26), Stanley Adeasbo (25), Victor Isaac (18), Godwin Williams (19), Kashimawo Oluwatosin (25), Abass Tajudeen (24), Olamigoke Adeola (19) and Yussuf Fawaz (19).
Others are Johnson Michael (19), Francis Michael (22), Samuel Adeyinka (25), Samuel Collins (25), Kazeem Akorede (25), Adebayo Bukola (23), Ochiagha Ifeanyi (19), Babatunde Taiwo (26), Raphael Dugh (30), Kenneth Ubaji (19), Alisi Ferdinand Okechukwu (30), Malik Ahmed (18) and Olamide Adeola (18).
They all pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge of “engaging 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 defendants were each granted bail in the sum of N500,000 and two sureties in like sum.
However, in a statement issued, the group said it was calling the international community to raise the issue with their governments as a matter of urgency, especially the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“We are also raising the fact that the conditions for bail are not just unreasonable but they violate the fundamental human rights of the accused.”
The statement had the support of other groups like the Bisi Alimi Foundation (BAF), the Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS), Queer Alliance (QA), and the International Centre for Advocacy to Health And Rights (ICARH).
In their statement issued on Friday and made available to Premium Times, the groups insisted that the men charged for homosexual activities were attending an event were HIV Counselling and Testing services were being rendered.
“We are working hard to ensure the release of the boys and also to help them assimilate back into society after the ordeal is done,” the statement said.
“While the official press release from the Lagos state government state that there were minors involved, organisers had no means to verify ages and the event was an 18+ event and not for minors.
“The party was not a sex party. Efforts are currently being made towards securing and perfecting bail for the men. We also would want to express our appreciation to all activists working tirelessly to see the release of the 42 currently in police custody.”
The groups also called on government to have a rethink on the stand of the law about homosexual activities.