Nigeria: Gay clinic executive director allegedly arrested without charge

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A Nigerian gay rights activist who runs a clinic for gay men and transgender people was allegedly arrested and detained without charge.

Ifeanyi Orazulike of the International Centre on Advocacy for the Right to Health was arrested at his office in Abuja while celebrating his birthday with 10 other people.

In a motion he has filed to the High Court, he has alleged he was detained without charge.

He said he was apprehended by a dozen policemen who stormed into his office and physically lifted him into a pick-up truck.

“I was told that they had come to arrest me on the instruction of the commissioner of police and nothing further was volunteered,” he said.

“They chased members of my organisation who were present, staff, friends and well-wishers who had come to visit me, and made to scamper about like common criminals.”

Mr Orazulike said he was taken to the  Abuja Environmental Protection Board where one policemen attempted to bribe him.

When he refused, he was slapped on the face. The policemen only released him, he said, when they realised he would not pay.

The clinic director has said the government needs to stop turning gays into “refugees”.

“Instead of passing anti-gay laws, Nigeria needs to focus on repealing its sodomy laws, laws that were originally imposed by British colonialism.”

Nigeria strengthened laws against same-sex sexual activity at the start of the year by banning same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection.

Punishments can include jail terms of up to 14 years.

President President Goodluck Jonathan has refused to repeal the legislation.