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Bisexual risks death in Nigeria, seeks asylum in the U.K .

Chukwuebuka, a pseudonym for his safety, is a bisexual Nigerian student residing in the U.K. He finds himself at a critical juncture, torn between fear and hope, and is now seeking refuge far from his homeland.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

By Mike Daemon

Under Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA), passed in 2014 under former Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, LGBTIQ+ individuals lack legal protection and are subjected to numerous forms of discrimination and human rights violations. This circumstance prompts many in the LGBT community to contemplate permanent relocation to countries that are more accepting of LGBTI+ individuals.

As a bisexual Nigerian Christian, Chukwuebuka was contemplating that decision after enduring numerous human rights violations from family members and his uncle after they began to suspect his sexual orientation.

Despite finding happiness in dating men, Chukwuebuka, like other LGBT individuals in Nigeria, faced mistreatment and discrimination from homophobic individuals, including his own family and conservative kinsmen.

His troubles escalated when he became a local community youth leader. Though he remained in the closet, rumors spread quickly of his sexuality and relationship with James (a pseudonym), a married gay man. Those rumors led to threats from his homophobic uncle and eventual suspension from his position by community elders. Subsequently, he faced further humiliation, including public stripping, by community elders questioning his gender identity.

After receiving death threats and an ultimatum to marry or face banishment, Chukwuebuka fled the village. He continued to be threatened through phone calls.

Refusing to yield to pressure, he faced harsh consequences, including the kidnapping of his father and a close colleague. James,  living in the village with his elderly mother, also received death threats.

Seeking refuge, Chukwuebuka went into hiding, traveled to the U.K. and enrolled in a master’s program there.

Soon he learned that James had been murdered by extremists identified only as “unknown gunmen”.

Chukwuebuka struggled with depression and was unable to confide in anyone. He remained closeted.

He decided to seek asylum in the U.K., realizing that a return to Nigeria would be unsafe.

Chukwuebuka’s story sheds light on the dire situation faced by LGBTIQ+ individuals in Nigeria and the urgent need for international support and protection for those fleeing persecution.

Source: African Human Rights Media Network member NoStringsNG.