A gay man’s entrapment, humiliation and beating by a homophobic gang has been recorded by a media activist in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
The young man, identified only as Isaac and thought be to be between 20 and 22 years of age, was lured by another man via Whatsapp to a house in the town on December 13.
Once there he was held captive, stripped naked, humilated and beaten by a group of people, despite his desperate pleas to be released.
Audio of the incident was captured by Mike Daemon, the pseudonym of the founder and presenter of the No Strings weekly Nigerian LGBTIQ radio podcast.
When Daemon arrived at the house, “the room was already filled up with people holding plank sticks as they were slapping and beating the young victim up,” he said.
He reported that Isaac “was naked, and begging that it wasn’t his fault that he was gay, and that he has been trying to change for some time.”
The young man said: “I realised I was gay in 2008, while I was still in school, and ever since then I have found it really hard to stop.”
The man who lured him to the house explained he had met Isaac at a chemist and they had stayed in touch. “I knew this guy was a homosexual when he started calling me frequently and constantly wanting to meet me,” he said.
After he got Isaac to the house, he went to the bathroom and called his friends and neighbours who arrived to to terrorise the hapless youth.
It was last reported that the abusers had called his parents, to whom he was not out, and had threatened to turn him over to the police.
“The people I live with are not my biological parents, I only came to Port Harcourt to help them, and if they find out, they may send me back to the village,” Issac pleaded.
According to Daemon, Issac faces the threat of arrest and prosecution or blackmail by the police. “So many cases like these go unreported in the Nigerian mainstream media,” he said.
Daemon added that, “the only way to do avoid these kinds of things from actually happening is to make sure you confirm from other people within the gay community if they can recommend someone, before agreeing to meet them; that is if you must meet someone at all.”
The full podcast of the shocking incident can be found here.
Nigeria has some of the most repressive anti-LGBT laws in the world. Under colonial-era legislation, the young man could be jailed for 14 years if found guilty of engaging in homosexual acts.
In January 2014, a new draconian anti-LGBTI law – the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill – was signed into law. It prohibits same-sex marriage with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and stipulates 10 years jail for public displays of same-sex affection and 10 years for membership or support of LGBTI equality and advocacy groups.
Muslims in twelve northern states in Nigeria also live under Islamic Sharia law, which allows homosexuality to be punished with death by stoning. Although this sentence is rarely carried out, those found guilty have recently most commonly been sentenced to public floggings.