Roundups Of Gay Men By Mobs Reported In Nigeria
By Nathan James
In the weeks since Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed sweeping new legislation, colloquially termed the “Jail The Gays Law”, a witch-hunt atmosphere has pervaded this central African nation. Following initial reports of gay or suspected gay men being arrested by Islamic religious police in the country’s northern provinces, and held for trials which could result in a sentence of death by stoning, disturbing stories of new incidences of mob rule are beginning to emerge from other parts of Nigeria.
Speaking to GBM News, Jessica Stern, Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), said, “We have been notified that 10 men, suspected to be gay, were rounded up and beaten last night in the town of Geshiri, near Abuja, by a mob of about 40 people.” Stern added that five of the victims were taken to a police station and detained before their eventual release. A second mob in Abuja reportedly dragged another 14 gay men from their beds into the street, where they were assaulted with iron bars and wooden clubs, according to the Associated Press. This group of victims was then arrested by local police, who “punched and kicked” them, and threatened them with the maximum 14 years’ imprisonment under the harsh new law criminalizing homosexuality.