I write in very strong terms to condemn a mob action by the people of Umuka, in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State yesterday, Monday, January 14, 2013, against the three men in the attached photographs.
Our organization have reliably confirmed and authenticated the incident and of the identity of one of the men in the picture, and are calling on security agents to quickly respond to the plight of these men. As it is, only the perpetrators and the community can tell the whole world what has become of these men who were seriously beaten up, stripped naked and paraded around the community bounded together like animals on allegation that they were caught having sex together.
As I write, our source reliably confirmed that the men were yet to be released from the location where they are being held in Umuka, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State.
We demand that the plight of these men be given the urgent attention it deserves by the Nigerian Police and other security agencies, and we especially appeal to Owelle Rochas Okoroch, Executive Governor of Imo State to intervene to save their lives.
While acknowledging that several Nigerians find the practice of homosexuality strange and unnatural, we also realize that it does not confer a license to trample on the rights of people who engages in it, with the sort of inhuman treatment that was meted out to these them.
So many informed commentators, including Nobel Prize winner, Prof Wole Soyinka have commented on the scientifically proven fact that more than anything, gays are just victims of biology.
We note and condemn the prevailing adverse legal and social environment that most LGBT now have to face in Nigeria, being criminalised for their sexual orientation and being made a target for harassment and violent assault fuelled by the on-going debates by the nation’s parliament on criminalizing homosexual acts.
Instead of being singled out for harassment and prosecution, what this community deserves is support and access to sexual health services that they lack as citizens of this country. The LGBT community remain a high risk group to HIV/AIDS infection, yet it is a community that has been denied of all access to life saving HIV/AIDS services. We suggest that our parliamentarians should devote equal energy at fishing out and punishing our treasury thieves who are doing more harm to the continued survival of our nation instead of dissipating energy on an issue that borders on private morality.
We enjoin other rights group to show solidarity and ensure that the rights of sexual minorities are protected like other marginalized groups in the country.