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Nigeria: Court drops charges against suspected homosexuals

A magistrate court in Benin City Nigeria has dropped charges brought forth against two suspected homosexuals.

Paul Frank, 31, and Christian Ejimofor, 22, were both arrested in December 2016 and later charged with conspiracy, unlawful carnal knowledge and stealing.

After spending about 50 miserable days abandoned in prison, Mr. Tom Malanga, a US based attorney who read about the story on NoStringsNG.com, intervened and provided support. After which, the accused were offered bail which was set close to about N200,000 each. Money which was later provided through Mr. Malanga’s associates in Nigeria.

Read also: Benin: Reports claim two men charged to court over alleged homosexuality

The battle in court was a tough one. At one point, the court-appointed barrister assigned to defend the accused objected to the submission of a video confession on the grounds that it was obtained under duress, as the accused were allegedly beaten by the police. The objection was sustained and the video confession was tossed out and not used as evidence.

Eventually, the charges against the accused were dropped by the police leading to the Magistrate cancelling all further hearings.

On May 30th, the accused Mr. Frank and Mr. Ejimofor regained their freedom as they were both released from prison to go home as free men.

With revelations from Mr. Malanga, the two accused men saw hell in prison, as Mr. Ejimofor was seriously malnourished and ill. He further stated that they may have probably died or ended up spending 14 years in prison if not for his intervention.

Upon their release, Mr. Malanga stated, “I am filled with pride and happiness that this day has arrived, although I’m still angry that this happened at all and I’m also saddened knowing there are other LGBT people whose arrests were not publicized and are sitting in Nigerian prisons right now.”

This is just one of the many extreme experiences of LGBT persons in Nigeria. Homosexuals are viewed and treated as criminals. The anti same-sex marriage prohibition law criminalizes people just for living their authentic lives even as homosexuality is a valid sexual orientation just like heterosexuality. Being gay is never a choice.

The harsh law is an indication showing how backward the country is, and as well serves to promote human right violations.

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