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Pictures Report

RTS33DP1
A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Eighteen months ago, dozens of men were rounded up and paraded before the press in a video that went viral. They still await trial, but Nigerian society has already punished them. These are their stories.
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CM7
February 24, 2020
Chris Agiriga, 23, one of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with members...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Chris Agiriga, 23, one of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with members of the same sex, poses for a photograph at his home in Lagos, Nigeria, February 14, 2020. Eighteen months ago, dozens of men were rounded up and paraded before the press in a video that went viral. They still await trial, but Nigerian society has already punished them. These are their stories.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CME
February 24, 2020
Some of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with members of the same...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Some of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with members of the same sex stand beside the gate of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria, November 5, 2019. Lagos state police commissioner Imohimi Edgal said he personally had ordered the raid that swept up the men after the authorities received a tipoff that young men were being initiated into a "homosexual club." Edgal declared that homosexuality ran contrary to the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. That law, which drew international condemnation when it came into force in 2014, targets not only same-sex unions but homosexual relations in general with prison terms of up to 14 years.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33DM6
February 24, 2020
A doorway of the Kelly Ann Hotel, the scene of the August 2018 police raid, in Lagos, Nigeria, February...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
A doorway of the Kelly Ann Hotel, the scene of the August 2018 police raid, in Lagos, Nigeria, February 20, 2020. Last November, after more than a year of court hearings, 47 men pleaded not guilty to a charge of public displays of affection by people of the same sex. Arrest warrants were issued for the 10 other men who failed to appear in court. In a landmark case that may reach its resolution this month, the men face 10 years in prison if found guilty under the 2014 law, which has never been used to secure a conviction.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33DDX
February 24, 2020
A man stands in a doorway of the Kelly Ann Hotel, the scene of the August 2018 police raid, in Lagos,...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
A man stands in a doorway of the Kelly Ann Hotel, the scene of the August 2018 police raid, in Lagos, Nigeria, February 20, 2020. Prison time or no, the men have already been punished. In this resolutely Christian and Muslim country, homosexuality is broadly rejected across society, as casual as a snub on the street and as serious as Sharia law that threatens death by stoning.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CLX
February 24, 2020
Onyeka Oguaghamba, 42, one of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Onyeka Oguaghamba, 42, one of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with members of the same sex, assists his son with his homework at their home in Lagos, Nigeria, February 11, 2020. Oguaghamba says he was sleeping outside the hotel in car at the time of the raid and was caught up in the arrests. After two weeks in police detention, he was fired as a bookkeeper with the Nigeria Union Of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, a job he had held for eight years. His employers had seen the videos on social media and didn't believe his explanation, he said.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CMG
February 24, 2020
Juliette, wife of Onyeka Oguaghamba, holds a photo album of their wedding pictures at their home in Lagos,...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Juliette, wife of Onyeka Oguaghamba, holds a photo album of their wedding pictures at their home in Lagos, Nigeria, December 6, 2019. While he was detained, Juliette sent protection money to an inmate so he would be spared the beatings that he says many of the others he was arrested with were subjected to. "She suffered a lot to bail me out," Oguaghamba said. Aside from the money, there was the indignity of a policewoman at the station accusing Juliette of having a gay husband. "When I got back, we started having issues." Finally, relations improved after a family meeting was convened at which her elder sister acted as a mediator between the couple. "Because of the incident, it was very difficult for us," Juliette said. "There is no evidence. You can't just barge into a hotel and pick people," she said, her voice growing louder. "I know my husband very well. He doesn't play such games. This is 11 years of marriage," she said. "It makes me cry. It makes me angry because he lost a lot."

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CM9
February 24, 2020
Onyeka Oguaghamba arranges food at his wife's stall at a market in Lagos, Nigeria, February 11, 2020....
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Onyeka Oguaghamba arranges food at his wife's stall at a market in Lagos, Nigeria, February 11, 2020. Oguaghamba now relies on his wife's sales of fruit and vegetables at markets to sustain the household. Oguaghamba said he was angry at the way his life had been upended. "I'm angry because what they are saying is not fact," he said. "They shared my pictures and video on social media. It's a very shameful thing."

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CMC
February 24, 2020
Sons of Onyeka Oguaghamba walk to school in Lagos, Nigeria, February 11, 2020. His four boys -- aged...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Sons of Onyeka Oguaghamba walk to school in Lagos, Nigeria, February 11, 2020. His four boys -- aged 6, 7 and two 10-year-olds -- weren't immune from the innuendo that swirled around their father. While he was in police detention, they were told their father had been on television. "I felt so bad, although they didn't understand what gay means," he said. "They asked me why police arrested me and they were showing me on television. I explained to them that the police can arrest anybody at any time."

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33DM9
February 24, 2020
A woman and child rest on the floor of the Kelly Ann Hotel, the scene of the August 2018 police raid,...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
A woman and child rest on the floor of the Kelly Ann Hotel, the scene of the August 2018 police raid, in Lagos, Nigeria, February 20, 2020. The Lagos police force has yet to disclose what its officers saw during the raid that led to the charge of public displays of same-sex affection against Oguaghamba and the other men. Since the November arraignment, the judge has adjourned the case three times because prosecution lawyers were unable to produce their witnesses. The judge threatened to throw out the case if the prosecution didn't produce its key witness at the next hearing in March.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CLZ
February 24, 2020
A gay couple pose for a photograph at a club in Lagos, Nigeria, October 27, 2019. Gay people in Lagos...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
A gay couple pose for a photograph at a club in Lagos, Nigeria, October 27, 2019. Gay people in Lagos say they live in fear of their sexuality becoming publicly known. Members of the gay community said they arrange discreet private gatherings such as house parties in the homes of friends. Many also turn to dating apps and social media to set up romantic liaisons. But criminals sometimes use these secret rendezvous to carry out attacks known locally as "kito," in which a gay person arrives to meet a person for the first time only to be kidnapped, beaten and sometimes raped, said rights campaigners and two people who told Reuters they had been victims of such attacks.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CM1
February 24, 2020
Chris Agiriga (L), 23, one of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Chris Agiriga (L), 23, one of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with members of the same sex, spends time with a friend at a local bar in Lagos, Nigeria, February 14, 2020. When he was a child, Chris Agiriga said, his aunt gave him a home after his mother left Lagos to pursue a new life. Some 20 years later, his aunt told him to leave after he appeared on TV in the police line-up. "Everyone in the area knew about it," said the 23-year-old from Egbeda, the same district as the hotel. "I brought shame upon the whole family."

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33DM8
February 24, 2020
Chris Agiriga walks with a friend on the streets of Mushin in Lagos, Nigeria, February 14, 2020. Agiriga's...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Chris Agiriga walks with a friend on the streets of Mushin in Lagos, Nigeria, February 14, 2020. Agiriga's aunt took him to her church and arranged for her pastor to house him on the premises. Agiriga slept on the floor of an outhouse that he shared with another homeless man who had been taken in by the church. The church pastor told Reuters that Agiriga was a vulnerable young man who had been taken advantage of. He wanted to help. But the arrangement ended after five months during which Agiriga clashed with his roommate. Agiriga said the roommate sent threatening text messages about turning him in to the police for "his lifestyle." When asked for his version of events, the roommate declined to offer an explanation and told a Reuters journalist to leave the church premises. Agiriga now lives in a safe house for men in Lagos.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CLY
February 24, 2020
Chris Agiriga sits in a minibus with a friend in Lagos, Nigeria, February 14, 2020. He says he lost his...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Chris Agiriga sits in a minibus with a friend in Lagos, Nigeria, February 14, 2020. He says he lost his job as a community outreach worker with an HIV charity after his arrest. In Nigeria, unlike in other parts of the world, the condition is not primarily associated with gay communities but with unprotected sex in general. "I called my director. He saw what happened on TV. He said he couldn't employ me because it brings shame," Agiriga said.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CM2
February 24, 2020
Chris Agiriga takes a blood sample of a patient during an HIV-testing procedure in Lagos, Nigeria, February...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Chris Agiriga takes a blood sample of a patient during an HIV-testing procedure in Lagos, Nigeria, February 15, 2020. Olubiyi Oludipe, executive director of the Improved Sexual Health & Rights Advocacy Initiative, said Agiriga had already been "disengaged" when the raid happened but was unable to specify when. He said Agiriga's performance hadn't been satisfactory but declined to elaborate further. "We have never laid off any of our project volunteers because of police arrest or based on sexual orientation and gender identity," he said in an emailed statement. "We always treat everyone as equal." Agiriga now works as an HIV counselor for a nonprofit group.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CM5
February 24, 2020
Chris Agiriga uses a sewing machine at his home in Lagos, Nigeria, February 14, 2020. Before the raid,...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Chris Agiriga uses a sewing machine at his home in Lagos, Nigeria, February 14, 2020. Before the raid, Agiriga wanted to pursue a career as a fashion designer. But he dropped out of his fashion course after losing the job that funded his studies. Agiriga now works as an HIV counselor for a nonprofit group. Agiriga didn't even know the birthday celebrant. A friend invited him, he said, and he was reluctant but was persuaded to go. Police raided the venue around 30 minutes after he arrived. "I regret going to the party," he said. "I lost my job, I lost my family, I lost a lot my friends -- all because of this."

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CMJ
February 24, 2020
Smart Joel, 25, one of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with members...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Smart Joel, 25, one of the Nigerian men arrested on charges of public display of affection with members of the same sex, poses for a photograph in his bedroom at his home in Lagos, Nigeria, February 18, 2020. Smart Joel said he has been beaten up three times by gangs of men known in Lagos as "area boys" who said they recognized him from the video. People still point and stare as he walks by, he said, although it was worse in the first few months following the video. "I'm always scared," the diminutive 25-year-old said, recounting an attack that took place last year in which a group of men called him out as the "gay guy who was arrested" and stole his phone, money and wristwatch.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CM6
February 24, 2020
Smart Joel poses for a photograph in his bedroom at his home in Lagos, Nigeria, February 18, 2020. Before...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Smart Joel poses for a photograph in his bedroom at his home in Lagos, Nigeria, February 18, 2020. Before the arrest, he said, it was the police who made him fearful. "Police officers will stop you and then get you arrested. Extort money from you and begin to call you names," Joel said. "That is not what the law talks about. They tend to harass."

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CMH
February 24, 2020
Smart Joel leans against the railings on the balcony at his home in Lagos, Nigeria November 21, 2019....
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Smart Joel leans against the railings on the balcony at his home in Lagos, Nigeria November 21, 2019. Joel's livelihood has also suffered. He runs a laundry and dry-cleaning business from the room he shares with his mother and five younger siblings.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CMR
February 24, 2020
Pressed clothes sit on a pressing table in the home of Smart Joel in Lagos, Nigeria, November 21, 2019....
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
Pressed clothes sit on a pressing table in the home of Smart Joel in Lagos, Nigeria, November 21, 2019. An iron and a chair draped with pressed clothes take up the tiny part of the floor not covered by the double bed shared by Joel's mother and his four sisters. But many customers have deserted him. "The ones that saw the video stopped coming to me. My income became unstable," he said. The family has struggled to pay bills and buy food since then. "It has not been easy," he said. "At some point I had to move on, not minding the stigma, the discrimination and the dirty language."

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CLV
February 24, 2020
James Burutu smokes a cigarette in a local bar in Lagos, Nigeria, February 15, 2020. Most of those arrested...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
James Burutu smokes a cigarette in a local bar in Lagos, Nigeria, February 15, 2020. Most of those arrested in August 2018 had gathered to celebrate Burutu's 24th birthday, a party that promised to last from "10 pm till mama calls." The sense of guilt he has lived with since then has been made worse by the fact that he wasn't among those seized by police, he said. He was still preparing for the party in a hotel room with friends when the raid took place; parties in Lagos often spill over well into the early hours of the day. But even though he wasn't arrested, the raid also changed his life. He says he has been ostracized by relatives. "So many of my family members don't want to see me because of this issue," he said.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CLU
February 24, 2020
James Burutu (C) spends time with Chris Agiriga (L), one of the men arrested at the party, at a local...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
James Burutu (C) spends time with Chris Agiriga (L), one of the men arrested at the party, at a local bar in Lagos, Nigeria, February 15, 2020. Burutu and Agiriga became friends after the raid. Burutu's elder sister asked him to leave the house she and her husband had shared with him. Three days of homelessness followed, during which he slept underneath a bridge, before he sought shelter with friends. And, as with a number of those who were arrested, he says he was fired. "My company said they didn't want to hear about a gay issue, and that if I continue working with them it would be a threat to the company," he said. Many of Burutu's friends, some of whom wondered aloud how he managed to evade arrest, now refuse to speak to him. "My life has been shattered," he said.

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
NIGERIA-LGBT/CRIME
RTS33CML
February 24, 2020
A barrister walks past the statue of Lady Justice standing in front of the Federal High Court in Lagos,...
Lagos, Nigeria
The Wider Image: A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects
A barrister walks past the statue of Lady Justice standing in front of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria, February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
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