On the 31st of July 2017, gossip social media channel, Instablog9ja first broke the news that the Lagos State taskforce at the behest of the citizens of Owode, had raided a hotel and arrested 42 alleged homosexuals. There hasn’t been any proper information about the arrest and the details; the actual number of people arrested, the exact charges and what has happened to the men since then. Thankfully, the Rustin Times, an LGBT newspaper has some vital information.
Here’s what we’ve gleaned from the Rustin Times’s timely reporting.
- There were actually 70 people arrested at the hotel. 28 of the 72 people were released on bail the next morning, which is where the news that 42 people were arrested has most likely come from. The 70 people arrested were allegedly caught ‘performing homosexual acts’ according to eyewitnesses and were arrested based on a tip from residents in the area.
- Information suggests that the party was actually an informal HIV counseling and Testing event, which has become very popular thanks to NGO’s seeking to capitalize on the draw of youth oriented events to sensitize at-risk teens and young adults. The suspects maintain that there was no illegal activity happening on the hotel grounds.
- The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS), All Out and the Access to Health and Rights Development Initiative (AHRDI) are all concurrently working to ensure the release of the arrested suspects. They have confirmed that the people are in fact in police custody but cannot confirm that they have not been harmed or tortured in any way. There is already an online petition which you can sign here to help facilitate their release.
- There are yet to be investigated claims that 10 people evaded the police raid but were capture by a Vigilante group that operates in the Owode area, they have not been officially transferred to police custody, and might be at risk of being tortured or worse killed.
- The arrested men are most likely to be arraigned on Thursday the 4th of August and formally charged with a crime if any.
Please lend your voice to the petition and use your social media channels to raise awareness on the matter. We shall keep you updated as the matter progresses.