Forty men were arraigned on charges of homosexuality before a Lagos Magistrate Court on Thursday.
Twenty-eight defendants were adults and were arraigned before the Yaba Magistrate Court while 12 were minors and were arraigned at the Ebute-Metta Magistrate Court.
The defendants, who were all arraigned on separate one-count charges, were arrested on Saturday at a hotel in Owode Onirin, Lagos State.
The charge reads that the defendants, “on or about 29th July, 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 canal knowledge of themselves against the order of nature and thereby committed an offense punishable under Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”
The adult defendants were identified as Adedayo Kamadupe (27), Abiodun Pedro (22), Ikechukwu Onyebuchi (32), Dike Stanley (19), Oji Charles Isioma (28), Garuba Ibrahim (21), Monday Favour (20), Ayo Marcus Ayobamidele (26), Stanley Adeasbo (25), Victor Isaac (18), Godwin Williams (19), Kashimawo Oluwatosin (25), Abass Tajudeen (24), Olamigoke Adeola (19) and Yussuf Fawaz (19).
Others are Johnson Michael (19), Francis Michael (22), Samuel Adeyinka (25), Samuel Collins (25), Kazeem Akorede (25), Adebayo Bukola (23), Ochiagha Ifeanyi (19), Babatunde Taiwo (26), Raphael Dugh (30), Kenneth Ubaji (19), Alisi Ferdinand Okechukwu (30), Malik Ahmed (18) and Olamide Adeola (18).
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge and their attorneys, Ehiko Onoche and S.M. Oladele, moved for the court to admit them to bail.
The prosecuting counsel, led by Adetutu Oshinusi from the Directorate of Public Prosecution, did not oppose the bail. She urged the court to order the defendants to submit themselves to the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency and Sexual Violence Response Team.
Chief Magistrate Adewale Ojo granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N500,000 and two sureties in like sum. He also ordered the defendants to submit themselves for monitoring and sexual rehabilitation as recommended by Ms. Oshinusi.
He then adjourned the matter till September 8.
Nigeria passed the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in 2013, which took effect in January 2014.
Human Rights Watch reported that the law has “created opportunities for people to engage in homophobic violence without fear of legal consequences, contributing significantly to a climate of impunity for crimes against LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] people.”
While same-sex marriage had already been outlawed before the passage of the law, the 2013 act provides for 14-year prison sentences for any individual who engages in homosexual “civil union.” The definition of civil union, however, is vague and can therefore be applied to anyone engaged in any homosexual behavior.