Police Declare Man Wanted over LGBTQ Procession, Rally

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The Nigerian Police have declared a man, Balogun Taofeek Olasile, wanted after he and his colleagues organized a rally to drum up support for the rights of gay and Lesbians in the state.

Balogun, who is a prince from Sagamu in Ogun state, is a thirty-eight year old married man who resides at Lalu Estate in Sagamu. He has been having a running battle with the Police over his campaign for the rights of lesbians and gays in the state.

Gays and lesbianism are prohibited in Nigeria. A law was enacted on this called “The Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) law.”

The law was signed on January 7, 2014, by former President Goodluck Jonathan . The law criminalizes public displays of affection between same-sex couples and restricts the work of organizations defending gay people and their rights.

The law imposes a 14-year prison sentence on anyone who “(enters) into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union,” and a 10-year sentence on individuals or groups, including religious leaders, who “witness, abet, and aid the solemnization of a same-sex marriage or union.” It imposes a 10-year prison sentence on those who “directly or indirectly make (a) public show of (a) same-sex amorous relationship” and anyone who “registers, operates, or participates in gay clubs, societies, and organizations,” including supporters of those groups.

Balogun’s wife, Sefiat Abisoye, told NigerianEcho that her husband has been on police wanted list. She added that police keep coming to search their residence since the rally was organised by him and his colleagues, which took place at the state capital, Abeokuta.

It was gathered that Balogun had earlier informed the police authority of his plans to organise the rally and requested for police protection and support. Some of his colleagues were arrested.

Balogun who is the Executive Director of LGBTQ Advocator of Nigeria, before his disappearance had informed his wife of being under the watchlist of the police, but insisted he would not be deterred by that as he had a right to freedom of movement

The wife said the disappearance of the breadwinner of the entire family has caused untold hardship to the family, calling on the government to help locate her husband, whom he described as peace loving, quiet, and reliable.

Efforts by NigerianEcho to speak with the police on the matter proved abortive as phone calls to the Police Public Relations Officer were unanswered

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