24 January 2014

Nigeria: Gays Seek Asylum Status at Embassies

Photo: Irin
Gay couple holding hands.

Lagos — Gay individuals have reportedly inundated some foreign embassies in Lagos to seek asylum.

The increased applications for asylum at the embassies follow the recent law passed by the country banning gay marriages and activities.

The law stipulates 14-year jail term for any person found to be nurturing gay relations or promoting gay activities.

Some countries including the United States and Britain have condemned the law threatening to impose sanctions on Nigerian.

The majority of Nigerians have however expressed support for the new law and urged government to ignore sanction threats by foreign government.

Law enforcement officials have already began the implementation of the law with the arrest and arraignment of five suspected gays in the northern part of the country.

Investigations by our correspondent in Lagos revealed that the number of gays who have applied for visa in some embassies in the state had increased in the last week.

It was established that some of the embassies that had experienced an increase in applications for asylum include the US, UK, Canada and Germany.

US Embassy officials refused to confirm the development but a source within the embassy said there had been an upsurge of visa application in the last week.

Because of the sensitivity of the issue, the source said most applicants only declare their gay status during the visa interview.

At the UK embassy, an official who wished not to be quoted because he is not permit to speak on the issue, also confirmed that there has indeed been an increase in number of visa applicants in the last one week.

He said he could not confirm if most of the applicants were gay as the embassy did not permit such disclosure.

The source said the embassy authorities would likely give genuine considerations to visa applicants who were gay and might be in obvious danger. – CAJ News

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