Increased arrests of suspected Nigerian gay men: a new way of extortion

By Adrian Banks

In recent times, several news stories have hit the air waves about arrests of young men who are “suspected” to be gay. These men-mostly young men in Lagos-have been arrested predominantly at hotels and gatherings where they go to have fun. The latest involved a gathering of over 60 young men “suspected” to be about to be “initiated” to become gay. Worst still is that these young men were paraded before TV cameras and interviewed like common criminals.

It is worthy to note that while the Nigerian Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act prohibits marriage between people of the same sex in Nigeria, or the display of ‘amorous’ same-sex relationships either directly or indirectly in public; the registration of and participation in gay clubs and other related societies, nowhere in this Act does it provide for the criminalization of gatherings with men-only attendance. And nowhere too does it provide for the arrest of anyone “suspected to be about to be initiated into Gay”! [This Act is in itself a ridiculous enactment created by the government of the day to shift focus from their monumental failure in tackling national security issues towards the Gay Topic, so go figure].

Read also: Being gay is beyond sex; Olumide Makanjuola says

Besides that, the Nigerian Police have made a mockery of themselves by looking for nothing better to do with their time than to go about looking to arrest and extort young men in guise of “being gay” or in the guise that they are “suspected to be initiated into becoming gay”. I think some of them need a crash course in behavioral psychology and human sexology to understand that being gay, or straight, or bisexual, is a mere sexual orientation and nobody can be “initiated” into becoming one or the other.

Read also: Police are crossing the line; it’s not a crime to be gay in Nigeria – Olumide Makanjuola

Furthermore, they make mockery of the entire Nigerian Society before the international community. The spate of crimes, killings, insecurity, hunger and other societal vices in Nigeria stare starkly in the face of the average Nigerians, and instead of tackling these issues, they go about arresting young men and parading them before TV cameras on the suspicion that they were about to be initiated into homosexuality?

Personally, I don’t know whether to weep or to shake my head in disgust, dust my bottom, and move on.

Adrian Banks is a Nigerian writer and attorney. He can be reached on

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    Master Adrian 4 years

    I wodner if this new policy is ordered from above in the judicial hierarchy, or a personal initiative of some local police authority and or police officers!
    The increase of arrests of suspected homosexual men is a bit suprizing, as internationally the attention towards the ill- and mis-treatment in Nigeria of homosexual men is condemned, by several and various bodies.
    Also, upon trying to find an answer to this question, if the increase of arrests of homosexual men in Nigeria is ordered from the Judicial higher-ups, contact with the Department of Jusitce makes clear there is no order to that effect, at least not known!
    Perhaps an investigation on a local level could bring light to this intolerable practice!

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