Three men (some reports say four) suspected of being gay have reportedly been paraded naked in public and beaten by a mob in Nigeria.
A shocking picture (left) of the men’s barbaric treatment has appeared on the internet, although the source is unclear.
According to Premium Times, the incident in the rural community of Ekwe, in the southern state of Imo, has been confirmed by the organisation Nigeria HIV Info.
In a statement by the group’s coordinator, Steve Aborisade, the men “were seriously beaten up, stripped naked and paraded around the community bounded together like animals on allegation that they were caught having sex together.”
It appears that the men have not been released from where they were being held. Aborisade called on Governor Rochas Okorocha to intervene to save their lives.
“While acknowledging that several Nigerians find the practice of homosexuality strange and unnatural, we also realise 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,” said Aborisade.
He went on to condemn the harassment and persecution of LGBT people in Nigeria, where the government is enacting legislation that would further criminalise homosexuality.
“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,” Aborisade said.
Current legislation punishes homosexual acts in Nigeria with 14 years’ imprisonment, or death by stoning in northern regions.
Parliament is set to approve new laws that would jail anyone (for between five and 14 years) involved in same-sex marriage ceremonies (including the guests), anyone showing same-sex affection and anyone who does not turn in gay people to the authorities.