Police in Nigeria's southern, oil-rich Abia State have arrested a pastor and self-titled "prophet" for having "unlawful carnal knowledge of a 23-year-old man," reports The Vanguard, an independent daily based in Lagos. Local news reports have published photos that show the man is bruised and apparently was beaten.
The 40-year-old pastor, Benjamin Ndubuisi, is said to be the leader of a so-called "white garment church", a Nigerian-based charismatic movement similar to Pentecostalism and revival churches.
Trouble started for the prophet when his victim who gave his name as Ndukwe took ill two weeks ago and worried by his continued deteriorating health condition, confessed to his family about the secret love affairs between him and the gay prophet.
Residents of the area hinted that Ndubuisi, who is a prophet in one of the white garment churches in Ogbor Hill, engaged his victim as a worker in the church as a ploy to always have him around to satisfy his sexual urge.
Worried by the shocking revelation, Ndukwe's parents alerted policemen leading to the arrest of the homosexual prophet. ... Benjamin [is accused of] carnal knowledge of a man's son through the anus. ... When the suspect was arraigned in court, he pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail in the sum of N200, 000 [$1250 USD] with a surety in like sum. ... The case was adjourned to September 9 for further hearing.
The pastor faces up to 14-years in prison.
Sodomy is outlawed under existing federal law in Africa's most populous country. Twenty-four of Nigeria's 36 states punish same-sex acts with up to 14 years imprisonment. Twelve Islamic states in northern Nigeria have introduced the draconian Sharia law that has sentenced several gays to death. However, these death sentences have reportedly never been enforced.
Prosecutions related to same-sex relations have generally been rare in recent years—but there has been an increase in arrests and prosecutions following the introduction of comprehensive anti-gay legislation in parliament. The bill passed unanimously by Nigeria's House of Representatives in late May "criminalizes public displays of affection between same-gender partners" and bans pro-LGBT activism. The bill has NOT been passed by both houses of parliament.
In January 2013, at least three men believed to gay were stripped naked, paraded through the streets and beaten by a mob in a remote Nigerian village. In September 2012, a Nigerian actor was sentenced to three months in prison after admitting to having sex with another man.
Since 2007, the National Assembly has introduced several proposed versions of extreme anti-gay legislation. A previous version passed in 2011 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.
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.
Some Background ...
NIGERIA: 3 Gay Men Stripped, Beaten by Mob
NIGERIA: Criticism After Actor Sentenced
Nigerian Actor Sentenced for "Unnatural Offences"
"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