By CHIOMA IGBOKWE
It is a piece of information that would alarm members of the public––that 40 young men recently arrested in Lagos for homosexuality have tested HIV-positive and now roam freely in the society as a result of the bail granted them by a magistrate court. The grim reality and the consequential catastrophe that could arise from such scenario is accentuated by two facts. One, the individuals are not the average citizens. They are gay. Two, in the light of their knowledge of their precarious health situation, there is a propensity among some of them to suddenly go on an infection-spree mission––most disturbingly, the easiest thing for the malicious ones to do.
The disturbing dimension of the fact is that these sex poachers are on an active recruitment drive. Worse still, they have constituted themselves into a club of committed homosexuals drawn from far and near.
Arrested and remanded, their case had quickly become a can of worms for the handling authorities. The prison authority hastily flushed them out of the facility to avert a likely HIV epidemic were they to stay for a further length of time––though not fast enough, for during the brief spell, one of them had sex with an inmate!
The court too went soft on them by ‘watering’ down the bail condition––for an offence that is one of the gravest in the country’s criminal code. Now free, as you read this page, that they could be infecting new persons by the day is not far-fetched.
As disturbing as the narrative may sound, it is a story that is currently unravelling in Lagos State. It started with the apprehending of 40 suspected homosexuals who were arraigned and were to be remanded but had to go through mandatory HIV test in Kirikiri Prison. The result of the test was the shocking discovery that nearly all of them were infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
The arrest and the sequel
Weeks back, policemen from the Lagos State Command raided a hotel in Ketu area of the state where several young men and minors suspected to be homosexuals were having their meeting. They were arraigned at the Ebute-Metta Magistrate Court and the Yaba Magistrate Court in Lagos, for allegedly engaging in homosexuality, which is a crime in Nigeria.
The adults amongst them were identified as Adedayo Kamadupe, Abiodun Pedro, Ikechukwu Onyebuchi and Dike Stanley. Others are Oji Charles Isioma, Garuba Ibrahim, Monday Favour, Ayo Marcus Ayobamidele and Stanley Adeasbo. Victor Isaac, Godwin Williams, Kashimawo Oluwatosin, Abass Tajudeen, Olamigoke Adeola and Yussuf Fawaz are also among the suspects.
Others are Johnson Michael, Francis Michael, Samuel Adeyinka, Samuel Collins, Kazeem Akorede, Adebayo Bukola, Ochiagha Ifeanyi, Babatunde Taiwo, Raphael Dugh, Kenneth Ubaji, Alisi Ferdinand Okechukwu, Malik Ahmed and Olamide Adeola.
According to the criminal charge, the defendants were said to have “On or about July 29, 2017, at Vintage Hotel, No. 999 Ikorodu Road/Toyin Close, Weigh Bridge, Owode Onirin, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did engage in gay activities by permitting male persons to have carnal knowledge of themselves against the order of nature and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”
The prosecution team led by Ms Adetutu Oshinusi from the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), Lagos State Ministry of Justice reportedly did not oppose their bail application but urged the Court to direct the defendants to submit themselves to the Lagos State Aids Control Agency (LSACA) for monitoring and Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) for rehabilitation.
The Magistrate also granted the request of the prosecution demanding monitoring and sexual rehabilitation for the defendants, while the matter was adjourned to September 8, 2017.
In line with that order, Saturday Sun learnt that the suspects were returned back to the police station where they would be detained while they perfect their bail.
Also, a non-governmental organization was said to have provided counseling for the suspects and a compulsory HIV test was conducted. They got the shock of their lives when it was allegedly discovered that 99 percent of the suspects tested positive and some of them were already in an advanced stage. Some of them were already breaking down due to lack of medication.
At Panti where the matter was transferred to, Saturday Sun learnt that most of them have been released on bail.
According to our police source, some of them were minors and court ordered that they should be sent to a juvenile home in the state. “These boys are from different states in Nigeria and they assembled for a get-together. It became important that they are released on bail when we realised that they were infected with HIV. “Secondly, we considered that most of the children in that home are already wild. It will be easy for these ones to corrupt them easily hence the spread of the virus. They were all divided and kept in different police cells in a different police station.
“Initially, the Magistrate said that each of them must come with a surety who has a tax clearance. We let them know that most of them are not from this state, they actually travelled from various states for that event.
“They started breaking down because they were no longer taking their medication. Those who were breaking down were those who their HIV status had advanced. In fact, two of them went into a coma and was moved to the hospital.
“Luckily, the court agreed and removed the tax clearance issue as a clause. This was when we started releasing them on bail, before the end of the week; they will all be gone.”
According to the source, there are concerns that they will continue spreading the virus if the proper authorities are not monitoring the suspects who are currently on bail.
“Our concern is to release to an appropriate organisation that will monitor them because it appears that they are all out of control. The matter is not about being homosexuals but efforts should be intensified to monitor them. They are aware that they are infected, yet they are busy recruiting any young man within reach.
“We had to place a special marshal in the cells to monitor them when we learnt that they had already started convincing fellow inmate to have anal sex with them at night while others are sleeping.”
One of the suspects told the Police that during their meetings, that they were mandated to recruit as many boys as possible especially those in secondary schools. “I had sex with someone in the cell because he wanted it. I simply promised him that as soon as I leave the cell that I will make an arrangement with our club to get a good lawyer for him. I told him that we have very rich men and if he will allow them to have anal sex with him, they will give him plenty of money. That was why he allowed me to have sex with him.”
Relief in prison
Meanwhile, prison officials heaved a sigh of relief when they learnt that the suspected homosexuals will not be remanded in prison.
One of the warders who spoke on the condition that his name will not be mentioned said that it would have been a disaster if the suspected homosexuals were dumped in the prison. “We are doing our best to protect inmates from abuse but at times out of desperation, they normally yield on their own. You can imagine the disaster if those suspected homosexuals were transferred to this prison. We were terrified when the news of their arraignment hit the social media.”
Nigerian Prisons spokesman Francis Enobore told Saturday Sun that even if they were brought to the prison, there are provisions on the ground to ensure that they do not corrupt other inmates. Sunnews