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Controversy trails arrest of 57 suspected homosexuals

The Lagos State Police Command said it has arrested 57 men alleged to be homosexuals in the midst of their initiation into a gay club.

Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal, said yesterday that the suspects were arrested on Sunday about 2am at a hotel on Adenrele Street, Egbeda, Lagos based on information from men of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC).

“Intelligence gathered revealed that some youths (males) would be initiated into a gay/homosexual club between 1am and 2am. This is an action contrary to section 1 (1) of Same Sex Marriage Act 2014.

“Consequent upon this, operatives, led by the Divisional Police Officers of the Shasha and Idimu divisions, stormed the venue at 2am. Policemen met young men numbering about 80 there in a hall taking different types of drugs that included banned substances like tramadol and shisha laced with a weed suspected to be marijuana.

“The suspects fled the venue of the initiation on sighting the police. However, the police gave them a hot chase and arrested 57 of them,” Edgal told journalists.

The police said they were still investigating the case.

Some of the suspects who spoke with our correspondent, however, maintained they were innocent of the charges the police had levelled against them. They said they had only gathered for a birthday party at the hotel.

The suspects said the gathering wasn’t an all-guys party as the police claimed, adding that some girls arrested along with them had been granted bail.

One of the suspects, Obialo James, who declared he was HIV positive, charged the police to provide proof to show that he and his friends were gay.

James said, “I am a 20-year-old dancer. I had gone to that hotel because a birthday celebrant had called for my services. The truth is that the police have no proof we are gay.

Crying, the suspect added, “I am HIV positive and contacted the infection from mother to child. Since my arrest, I have not been taking my drugs, which is very dangerous to my life.”

Wealth Olasukunmi, who claimed to be a 25-year-old graduate of Mass Communication from the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, accused the police of “an improper job” on the matter.

Olasunkanmi said, “I am awaiting my National Youth Service call-up. I was invited to a birthday party at that hotel by a friend. I did not know the celebrant and had only followed my friend to the party.  “The truth is that the police just came to arrest us all without telling us what our offence was. We only now know they suspected us to be gay, which is not true. The allegation that it was an all-guys party is also not true. There were girls in that party. I saw, at least, eight of them. The girls were in the rooms doing their make-up, while we were in the hall drinking. I am not gay.”

Mr Eke Ede, the father of one of the suspects, who had come to secure the release of his son but was told he was being held for a grievous offence, also said, “The offence for which my son, Ede Ameachi, is being held is unimaginable. My son sells phone accessories. On the day he was arrested, he had told his brother he was going for a naming ceremony. The police should do a detailed investigation into the allegation.”

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