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Nigerian trans woman seeks justice; magistrate warns perpetrator

By Mike Daemon

Executive Director Chizelu Emejulu and the transwoman with face hidden. (Photo Source: Minority Watch Instagram).

At Lagos courthouse, Chizelu Emejulu, executive director of Minority Watch, poses with the trans woman plaintiff, whose face is hidden for her safety. (Photo source: Minority Watch Instagram).

In a recent case at a Lagos magistrate court, a Nigerian trans woman sought justice against a man who assaulted and robbed her.

The victim, whose identity remains confidential for safety reasons, was lured to the perpetrator’s home last year, where she experienced violent assault and theft due to her gender identity – an unfortunate reality for many in the LGBTQI+ community in Nigeria.

Assisted by Minority Watch Nigeria, a human rights-focused non-profit organization, the trans woman pursued justice by filing a two-count charge of assault and theft against the perpetrator.

The organization recently shared details of the case on Instagram, revealing that an out-of-court settlement was reached on Jan. 9, leading to the withdrawal of charges after both parties reached an agreement.

Upon this resolution, the Honourable Magistrate Mrs. M.O Alao issued a stern warning to the perpetrator: “If it is something that is in your nature to do, desist. Assault is not the way. If something is not for you, step away. But it is not for you to corner somebody and do what you want to do with that person thinking the person wouldn’t have any voice. As you can see, she has a voice.”

Off the record, the magistrate expressed concerns over the perpetrator’s behavior, stating that it is a shame that such criminal acts still occur in this day and age.

Minority Watch supported the court’s decision, saying that the case serves as a model of LGBTQI+ individuals in Nigeria exercising their right to speak up and seek justice, even in the face of oppression.

“We agree with the magistrate. Those who attack queer people in Nigeria do so because they believe they can get away with it. Though this case ended with an out-of-court settlement, it is still a stellar example of our belief that LGBTQI people in Nigeria have a voice. At Minority Watch, we exist to amplify that voice,” Minority Watch stated.