Nollywood actor Godwin Maduagu comes out as gay after being blackmailed over sex tape

Nollywood actor Godwin Maduagu bravely comes out as gay

Nollywood actor Godwin Maduagu has bravely come out as gay after being blackmailed by former friends over a sex tape.

According to the Daily Post Nigeria, Maduagu was blackmailed over the video and became “depressed” to the point of feeling suicidal.

Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria and publishable by up to 14 years in prison; he said in a previous interview that the impact of the video being leaked in 2021 led to him missing out on jobs and “getting broke”.

However in an Instagram story on Tuesday (27 September), the actor included an LGBTQ+ pride flag, revealing his family “saved me” with their support.

Godwin Maduagu said: “After getting a better life for myself, my close friends set me up, blackmailed me, and leaked my sex tape. I became depressed and almost committed suicide.

“My family saved me by giving me words of encouragement and advice that kept me going. Look at me now living my truth because I’ve now gotten a strong thick skin.

“Love is love. Say no to blackmail.”

Nollywood stars have previously stood up against the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria despite the difficulty in speaking out; even those who attend a wedding or operate an LGBTQ+ nightclub in the country can be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In July 2022, Nigerian actor Uche Maduagwu was arrested after appearing to come out as gay and defending the LGBTQ+ community on Instagram, despite stressing that he is “not gay”, but saying he wanted to use his “celebrity status [to fight] for this beautiful community”.

That same month, actor Yul Edochie spoke out about the horrific sentence of death by stoning given to three gay men, aged 20, 30 and 70.

Despite receiving some critical comments, Edochie bravely slammed the cruel punishment on Instagram, saying: “Stoning a man to death because he is gay is wrong! Totally wrong! I am not gay. I don’t plan to be. But gay people are human beings too and should have rights.

“How can you kill a human being because he is gay? Condemn him if he engages in criminal activities. Condemn him if he’s a rapist. If not, leave judgement to God.”

The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA), which criminalises all forms of same-sex unions and marriage equality across Nigeria, was introduced in 2014.

Human Rights Watch wrote when the bill passed: “While existing legislation already criminalizes consensual same-sex conduct in Nigeria, the report found that the SSMPA, in many ways, officially authorizes abuses against LGBT people, effectively making a bad situation worse.

“The passage of the SSMPA was immediately followed by extensive media reports of high levels of violence, including mob attacks and extortion against LGBT people.”

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