A police officer in Nigeria was stripped naked and beaten by a mob of vigilante youths after he was interrupted having consensual sex with another man, according to The Nation. Police Constable Chibuike Ukazu and the man were then taken to the palace of the community’s traditional leader where they were verbally assaulted before being rescued by police. Nigeria has some of the strictest anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the world, and the pair face up to 14 years in prison if convicted.
Ukazu and another man identified only by his nickname, Yellow, were attacked in a private home last Tuesday evening by persons associated with a local vigilante group.
“Immediately we entered the house, the police officer took down his trouser and pulled off his shirts, bend over and the Yellow guy, started having anal sex with him,” an unidentified source told The Nation. “Immediately our men broke in and arrested them and took them down to the community hall.”
Another unidentified source claims that Ukazu was corrupt.
“This particular police officer together with his colleagues chased a man driving with his car and threatened to shoot him if he moved any further,” the source is reported to claim in The Nation. “After discussions, they took bribe of N5000 from him and left.”
Nigeria has some of the most severe anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the world. Laws like the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act signed into law in 2015 by then-President Goodluck Jonathan criminalize same-sex unions, sexual acts, public displays of affection, participation in LGBTQ+ organizations, and more with up to 14 years in prison for men. Women can be punished with whipping and/or imprisonment. In areas operating under sharia law, the punishment is death.
The anti-LGBTQ+ laws are decidedly popular in Nigeria. Business Insider reports that 92% of Nigerians polled supported the law prior to its passage, and only 1% strongly opposed it. A 2013 Pew Research poll found 98% of Nigerians polled did not think homosexuality should be accepted by society. Last December, 47 men went on trial on various LGBTQ+ charges following a 2018 raid on a hotel in Lagos.
Meanwhile, local police indicate they are more concerned the vigilantes had assaulted a police officer, rather than the actual assault against Ukazu and Yellow.
“The command, therefore, wishes to warn members of the public to desist from taking laws into their hand by resorting to self-help especially on infractions by the members of the Police or other security agencies, all are advised to report all grievances to the nearest Police station for prompt and decisive action,” police spokesperson, Orlando Ikeokwu, said in a statement in The Nation. “However, investigation into the matter has commenced with a view to unravel what actually transpired and if found culpable will face the wrath of the law.”