A Nigerian actor has reportedly been sentenced to three months in prison after admitting to having sex with another man.
Several reports from Nigeria claim that 28-year-old Bestwood Chukwuemeka—an actor in movies produced by the nation's well-known "Nollywood" film industry—was charged with sexual assault. AFP reports the Abuja man was charged with "unnatural offences" and "homosexuality".
According to police prosecutor Mohammed Umar, Chukwuemeka had a sexual encounter with a friend's brother in August at a private home and was later arrested after the other party informed the police. He initially denied the charge. "The case came up for hearing on Monday and the accused changed his plea and pleaded guilty to the offence after the witness (complainant) had testified," Umar told AFP. "The accused said he was intoxicated by alcohol. The accused was sentenced to three months imprisonment without an option of fine on Monday after a summary trial."
It was unclear if he had a lawyer and a representative of Nigeria's actors' guild could not immediately be reached for comment. Chukwuemeka is not a well known performer, but was identified as an actor by the prosecutor.
A slightly different version from the Nigerian Tribune, which reports the charge was rape.
The police prosecutor, Umar Mohammed, said that the victim had reported to the divisional headquarters of an alleged rape by the accused person. According to Mohammed, the accused person, Bestwood Chukwuemeka, had sexual intercourse with the complainant on his bed when the complainant was fast asleep. This, the prosecutor said, was contrary to section 284 of the Penal code.
In his response to the charges, Chukwuemeka pleaded not guilty. He said, "I came back drunk from the night club and thought I was sleeping on the same bed with my girl-friend and I started romancing her."
Prosecutions related to homosexuality are rare in Africa's most populous country. Under existing federal law, sodomy is punishable by jail. Twelve Islamic states in northern Nigeria have introduced the draconian Sharia law that has sentenced several gays to death. However, these death sentences have never been enforced.
Since 2007, the National Assembly has introduced several proposed versions of extreme anti-gay legislation. A draconian bill passed last year by the Senate goes beyond merely banning same-sex marriage—which is already illegal—and would ban same sex relationships, ban same sex couples from living together, ban pro-LGBT websites or groups and prosecute their friends or human rights activists. The bill has since stalled under international pressure. Previous versions of the bill banned gays from meeting, living together , reading LGBT websites or even going out to dinner.
Same-sex acts are currently illegal in at least 38 of 54 African countries. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. But the reality is much different for many Black gay South Africans. Brutal so-called "corrective rape" and murder are increasing against lesbians in SA's townships, as well as rape and attacks against gay men.
Some Background ...
"Daily Sun" Warns "Homosexuals in Trouble"
NIGERIA: Activists Harassed During Testimony
Nigeria Advances Extreme Anti-Gay Bill
NIGERIA: Hearings Begin on Extreme Legislation
Nigerian Village Vows to "Stone Any Homosexual"
EU Considers Suspending Aid to Nigeria
Nigerian Legislators Vote to Ban Gay Marriages
EU: Level of Homophobia in Nigeria "Unacceptable"
Nigerian Mob Attacks Gay Activist
Nigerian Lynch Mob Storms Jail
Nigeria: 18 Gays Face Death Penalty
Nigerian Lesbian In Hiding After Reported Wedding
Nigeria's Homophobia Threatens Bid for Games
Nigeria One Step Closer to Outlawing Gays