Aerial view of Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. Credit: flickr
Aerial view of Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. Credit: flickr

John* was arrested and placed in custody this summer for homosexuality before eventually being released on bail. Today, threatened with death by his community, he lives in hiding and is thinking of leaving his country.

"I live in Nigeria. A few months ago, I was arrested for homosexuality. I was tortured and detained for two weeks. The case went to court. I was going to be sentenced to 14 years in jail, but I was able to get a lawyer to defend me in court. I was in a position to raise the money for my bail and was released.

"My community wanted the court give me a heavy sentence, but I won in the end because there was no evidence to support the police statements.

"Since then, I have been hiding at the house of an acquaintance. I couldn’t go back home or run my business as I'm an entrepreneur. Members of my community have threatened to kill me and burn me with tires if they see me. Fortunately, my family didn’t reject me and bring me clothes and food. They also help me find places where I will be safe.

"I was warned that some people went to my home and are still looking for me. My life is in danger.

"I am condemned to live in solitude. I don’t have anyone to talk to. Nobody wants to be seen in my company. I can’t even leave the place where I am currently staying.

"Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria and can be punishable by up to 30 years in prison. This should not be the case. It has to do with people’s private lives.

"Today, I plan to leave Nigeria to start a new life elsewhere. I think I might go to South Africa, America or Europe. There, people are not punished for their homosexuality. They can live the life they want."

* The name has been changed


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