The police in Lagos on Wednesday brought 47 men before a Federal High Court Lagos, for allegedly engaging in an amorous gay relationship.
The defendants include Segun Ode, 24; Afolabi David, 20; Azeez Tunde, 22; Adedokun Pelumi, 22; Smart Joel; 25, Iyodun Ehiosun, 20; Rilwan Jamiu, 24; and Raphael Matthew, 38.
The others include Chibuike Emmanuel, 23, Prince Collins, 23, Daniel Aya, 22, Alozie Innocent’, 21, Kelvin Nwachukwu, 23, and Okekoya Gbemi, ’33.
Also charged are: Odika Emmanuel , 25, Kojo Emmanuel, ’27, Adewole Micheal , 27, Alabi Olamilekan , 21, Oluwaseun Odu , 26, and Oladipo Eniola , 24.
Others listed are Desmond Onuha, ’23, Joseph Victor, 23, Omoniyi Tobi, ’21, Kelvin Abuchi, 22, Mohammed Abubakar 26, Lawal Yusuf, 22, Odusina Micheal, 23, Wole Ojo, 24, Abimbola Damilola, 21.
Also named are Laguda Olamilekan , 23, Alhassan Opeyemi, 23, Samson Ode, 23, Musibau Remi , 33, Olajide Olaide , 23, Isaac Patrick, 23, Wasiu Ajibade, 25, Oguaghanba Onyeka, 41, and Okechukwu Noble , 25.
The others are Abioye Olasunkanmi, 25, Isa Asoma, 25, Rasheed Gbenga, 25, Obiafor James, 20, Jesse Paul 22, Oladipo Femi, 25, Ogunirinde Yusuf 28, Chris Godsent, 23, Solomon showole, and others at large.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the defendants were arraigned at 4.12 p.m. on a one-count charge of engaging in an amorous gay relationship.
All the defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After their pleas, the prosecutor, Mr J.I. Ebhoremen, urged the court to remand them in a correctional facility, saying that their crime was heinous.
However, defense counsel, Mr Israel Usman, opposed the request and prayed the court to grant them bail.
He attached a four-paragraph affidavit in support of the bail application.
Justice Mohammed Aikawa held that although the charge against the defendants was serious, it was bailable.
He granted each of the defendant’s bails in the sum of M500,000, with two sureties each in like sum.
The judge held that one of the sureties must be a civil servant of grade level 10 or above, while the other should have a reasonable means of income to be verified by the court.
He held that each of the defendants should sign an undertaking not to delay the trial.
Aikawa, however, ruled that pending perfection of their bail, the defendants should be remanded in police custody for 48 hours and afterward be transferred to a correctional facility if they could not meet the bail conditions.
Although defense counsel immediately applied to the court for a variation of the bail conditions, the judge held that it was only where the defendants were unable to meet the bail conditions that an application for variation could be necessary.
The judge adjourned the case until Dec. 11 for trial.
Earlier, the police alleged that the defendants were arrested at a hotel in Egbeda, Lagos, on Aug. 25, 2018, adding that they were picked up at 2.00 a.m. while performing gay initiation rites for newly recruited members.
They were first arraigned before a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos and pleaded not guilty to a three-count charge of conspiracy, membership of a secret cult, and unlawful gathering.
Chief Magistrate Kikelomo Ayeye had admitted each of them to bail in the sum of ₦200,000 each, with one surety each in the like sum.
In the charge before the Federal High Court and marked FHC/1/311C, the police alleged that the defendants made “public show of a same-sex amorous relationship with each other in hidden places within Kelly Hotel”, Egbeda.
The police said that the defendants’ actions contravened the provisions of Section 5(2) of the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013.