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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:13 am 
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UN: Nigeria's anti-gay law may harm public health
13 March 2014

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- The U.N. human rights chief says Nigeria's new anti-gay law may have "negative consequences" for public health.

Navi Pillay says the law could hinder government, civil and religious groups from delivering HIV education and preventative care and deter gay and transgender people from seeking services. She told Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke at a meeting Thursday that the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act violates fundamental human rights and the Nigerian constitution.

Adoke said the laws "do not criminalize individual sexual orientation." He indicated there would be no consideration for Pillay's call for a moratorium on prosecutions. The minister said a poll showed 92 percent of Nigerians support the law. It further criminalizes homosexuality as well as people working in HIV-AIDS programs for gays, who have a much higher infection rate.

Source: AP.

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:19 am 
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2 freed of gay charges in Nigerian Shariah court
1 April 2014

BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) -- A Nigerian Shariah court has freed two men accused of gay sex and belonging to a homosexual club, saying the prosecution failed to prove its case.

The two were among 12 detained in northern Bauchi state in January in a frenzy of arrests after Nigeria strengthened its penalties for homosexuality with the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. Five of the men have been found guilty and were sentenced to fines and public whippings in the court.

On Tuesday, the judge freed a 29-year-old street vendor and a 21-year-old artisan. The Shariah trials have been held in secret since a mob tried to lynch the men at a court hearing, demanding they be stoned to death.

One in the group is a Christian who must be tried in a secular court.

Source: AP.

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:58 am 
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Child bride forced to marry poisons groom
10 April 2014
By IBRAHIM GARBA and MICHELLE FAUL

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Wasila Umaru

KANO, Nigeria (AP) -- A child bride forced into marriage in Nigeria killed a groom and three of his friends with a poisoned meal, police said Thursday.

Fourteen-year-old Wasila Umaru was married last week to 35-year-old Umaru Sani, according to assistant superintendent Musa Magaji Majia. Over the weekend, the groom invited a dozen friends to celebrate at his Ungwar Yansoro village, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the northern city of Kano.

The teenager told police she bought rat poison at a village market and used it to prepare a dish of rice. "The suspect confessed to committing the crime and said she did it because she was forced to marry a man she did not love," Majia told The Associated Press. The groom and a friend died the same day, and two other victims died later in the hospital. Umaru is cooperating with police and likely will be charged with culpable homicide, according to Majia.

Child marriage is common in Nigeria and especially in the mainly Muslim and impoverished north, where the numbers increase in times of drought because a bride price is paid and it means one less mouth to feed. Fifty percent of Nigerian girls living in rural areas are married before they turn 18, according to the U.N. children's agency. That's a lot of child brides in a country of some 170 million people of whom half are under 18.

Child brides often suffer difficult pregnancies - the leading cause of death worldwide for girls aged 15 to 19 - and are much more likely to contract AIDS and be subjected to domestic violence, according to the International Center for Research on Women. Early and forced marriage is classified as modern-day slavery by the U.N. labor organization, and Nigeria's Child Rights Act prohibits marriage before 18. But that federal law competes with Islamic Shariah law that holds in most northern states.

No one in Nigeria has been prosecuted for marrying a child, including Sen. Sani Ahmed Yerima, infamous for divorcing a 17-year-old that he married when she was 15 so he could marry a 14-year-old Egyptian girl in 2010, when he was 49. He had to divorce one of his child brides because Islamic law allows a maximum of four wives at a time. Many child brides are divorced, for that reason and because of incontinence and other medical problems caused by difficult pregnancies, according to local child rights advocates who say such girls are put out on the street.

Faul contributed to this story from Lagos, Nigeria.
Source: AP.

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 4:52 am 
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Kidnapped Nigerian school girls 'forced to marry captors'
by Kashmira Gander
Wednesday, 30 April 2014

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Members of various civil society organisations (CSOs) protest against the delay in securing the release of the abducted schoolgirls who were kidnapped, in Abuja April 30, 2014. Dozens of protesters gathered outside Nigeria's parliament on Wednesday called on security forces to search harder for 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants in the war-ravaged northeast over two weeks ago. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Girls and young women who were kidnapped from a school in Nigeria are reportedly being paid to marry their captors, according to a civic organisation.

Parents say the girls are being given 2,000 naira (£7) to marry Boko Haram militants, according to Halite Aliyu of the Borno-Yobe People's Forum.

“The latest reports are that they have been taken across the borders, some to Cameroon and Chad,” Aliyu said. However, it was not possible to verify the reports regarding more than 200 missing girls who were kidnapped in the northeast by the Boko Haram terrorist network two weeks ago. “Some of them have been married off to insurgents. A medieval kind of slavery. You go and capture women and then sell them off,” community elder Pogu Bitrus of Chibok, the town where the girls were abducted, told the BBC Hausa Service.

The Borno-Yobe People's Forum was alerted to the alleged mass weddings by residents of the Sambisa Forest, on Nigeria's border with Cameroon, where the terrorist group is known to have hideouts.

The report comes as terrorist network Boko Haram gathered to negotiate the students' fate, and is demanding an unspecified ransom for their release, a Borno state community leader told reporters. He added that the message released by the abductors on Wednesday included the claim that two of the girls have died from snake bites. The message was sent to a member of a presidential committee mandated last year to mediate a ceasefire with the Islamic extremists, said the civic leader speaking on a condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to publicly discuss the talks.

As many of the girls remain missing, hundreds of women marched on Wednesday to Nigeria's National Assembly to protest against the lack of action to help being offered the students. Hundreds more also marched in Kano, Nigeria's second city in the north.

“The leaders of both houses said they will do all in their power but we are saying two weeks already have past, we want action now,” said activist Mercy Asu Abang. Nigerians have harnessed social media to protest, trending under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

A federal senator from the region said the military is aware of the movements of the kidnappers and the girls. “What bothered me the most is that whenever I informed the military where these girls were, after two to three days they were moved from that place to another. Still, I would go back and inform them on new developments,” Sen. Ahmad Zanna is quoted as saying at the Nigerian online news site Persecond News.

Source: Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:18 am 
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Malaysia among worst countries in world for transgenders
by Stuart Grudgings
September 24, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia is among the worst countries in the world to be a transgender person, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Thursday that detailed systematic abuses by religious authorities and police including sexual assault and extortion.

The report, based on interviews with more than 40 transgender people, blamed "increasingly vitriolic" discourse by government officials, politicians and religious leaders in the Muslim-majority country for the deterioration in rights.

Malaysia had steadily shifted towards Islamic conservatism in the past few decades, with every state introducing enactments for Muslims that criminalise "a man posing as a woman" or vice versa, the report by the U.S.-based group said. It said Malaysia, where Islamic authorities banned sex change surgery in 1982, was among only a handful of countries including Nigeria and Kuwait that criminalize transgender people.

"Malaysia is actually one of the worst countries to be a transgender because of the laws, the state-organised arrests and the hate speech by politicians," said Boris Dittric, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights programme.

The report called on Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has cast himself globally as a voice of moderation, to retract a statement media said he made in 2012 that it was necessary to fight the three "-isms" of pluralism, liberalism and LGBTs.

The 73-page report included witness testimony from one transgender women who said she had been stripped and sexually assaulted by state religious department officials in 2011. Others said they had been arrested and forced to attend "counselling" sessions where Islamic officials lecture them on "being a man".

Some women said they had been jailed for up to three years, with several placed in male wards where they faced sexual assault from prisoners. Widespread discrimination by employers means a disproportionate number of transgender people end up working in the sex trade, where they face heightened risks.

Several transgender women have filed a ground-breaking court case challenging Islamic law, or sharia, in the state of Negeri Sembilan, arguing that it contravenes the federal constitution's guarantee of freedom of expression and equality. The court is expected to deliver its verdict in early November.

Source: Reuters.

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:18 pm 
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Death penalty sought for Nigerian child bride
27 November 2014

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Wasilat Tasi'u

KANO, Nigeria (AP) -- The father of a 14-year-old child bride accused of murdering her husband said Thursday he was appealing to a Nigerian court to spare his daughter the death sentence.

Wasilat Tasi'u is on trial for the murder of her 35-year-old husband, Umar Sani, who died after eating food that Tasi'u allegedly laced with rat poison. "We are appealing to the judge to consider Wasilat's plea," her father, Isyaku Tasi'u, told the Associated Press on Thursday.

On Wednesday witnesses told the High Court in Gezawa, a town 60 miles outside Nigeria's second largest city of Kano, that Tasi'u killed her husband two weeks after their wedding in April. Three others allegedly died after eating the poisoned meal. The prosecution, led by Lamido Soron-Dinki, senior state council from the Kano State Ministry of Justice, is seeking the death penalty.

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Both of her parents attended the hearing at Gezawa High Court in Nigeria (AFP Photo/Aminu Abubakar)

The case calls into question the legality of trying a 14-year-old for murder under criminal law and the rights of child brides, who are common in the poverty-stricken, predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria region. "She was married to a man that she didn't love. She protested but her parents forced her to marry him," Zubeida Nagee, a women's rights activist in Kano, told AP. Nagee and other activists have written a letter of protest to the Kano state deputy governor.

Nagee said Tasi'u was a victim of systematic abuse endured by millions of girls in the region. Activists say the blend of traditional customs, Islamic law and Nigeria's constitutional law poses a challenge when advocating for the rights of young girls in Nigeria.

Justice Mohammed Yahaya adjourned the court until December 22. Tasi'u is in state juvenile custody.

Source: AP.

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:50 am 
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Nigerian author risks jail by coming out as gay
12 January 2015

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Kenny Brandmuse has come out as gay.

A Nigerian author and brand expert has taken to Facebook to publicly come out as gay.

Kenny Brandmuse, who was married for six years, had also recently disclosed that he is HIV positive. In two separate posts, Brandmuse addressed both his sexuality and his HIV status saying he would continue to write for those who are misunderstood and discriminated against.

‘One day, very soon, it will no longer be news that some of us are gay because the next generation will regard all mankind with dignity, irrespective of sexuality,' he said. ‘One day, very very soon, HIV and other such diseases will no longer be a thing to be ashamed of as those affected will live a much healthier life due to scientific breakthroughs and zero stigmatization.’ He added it was important for parents in Nigeria to affirm their children’s sexuality early on so they would not get into ‘high sexual risk’ situations. ‘When we live in culture of silence, we push people to the down low. When people engage in sexual activities in the down low, they are highly at risk for HIV and other STIs. Speaking about my journey as a black gay man, I knew I got engaged in high sexual risks while in college because I was running away from myself.'

He also thanked his followers for their support and their kind words urging more Nigerians to recognize diversity. ‘Affirm people whose sexual orientation differs from yours as long as they are not coercing anyone into it- stop comparing gay folks to pedophiles and people sleeping with animals. That's not a consensual love between two people. It happens with heterosexuals too.’

Surprisingly, a large majority of his fans were supportive. 'Kenny please continue to speak out. Homosexuality cannot be promoted, its not an infectious disease. We just want to stop hiding,' one said. And another added: 'My brother, my love, my soul, I stand with you now and forever. I have wept, laughed and I celebrate your bravery and say thank you.'

But they weren't all so positive, with some alleging that Brandmuse had been 'turned' gay. You are gay, good for you but keep it to yourself but I will advice you respect the law of nature and the laws of the land bcause this miserable lifestyle of yours is against an offense in nigeria. Just get ready to face the music when the DJ starts playing it or start planning your relocation.

'I hate it when gays try to force straights to be gay,' one said. 'If u wanna be gay, its ur life its between u and ur maker. Dnt drag others into it.'

Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria and can result in a 14-year prison sentence. Public displays of affection by gay men and lesbians are also criminalized.

Source: GayStarNews.

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:37 pm 
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Nigerian woman files for divorce because her husband's penis is 'too big'
4 March 2015

A Nigerian woman filed for divorce from her husband because his penis was too big, according to media reports.

Aisha Dannupawa, a housewife and mother-of-three, asked for her marriage to husband Ali Maizinari to be dissolved due to his large manhood. Their divorce was granted after just one week of marriage in a Islamic Sharia court in Nigeria's Zamfara State.

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Decision: The court in Zamfara State, Nigeria, granted the divorce. It was the first state in the country to introduce Sharia law

She told the court she had married Maizinari after her first marriage failed. As part of the local tradition, before settling into her husband's home the bride was invited to move into his parents' house. But it was only when the couple first had sex she claimed that the trauma began. 'When he came, we had sex but the experience was a nightmare. Instead of enjoying the sex, it turned out to be something else, because his penis was too big,' she told the court, according to Nigeria's Tribune.

After their first unsuccessful attempt at making love, she took medication given to her by her mother. 'I told my mother the experience but she told me to endure and that with time, I will be able to cope. She then gave me some drugs,' she said to Nigerian media. According to Dannupawa, the couple had sex again but it was 'too much to bear' and the couple concluded that no drug could help their sex life or their marriage.

Maizinari did not deny the accusation and told the court he was willing to dissolve the union if his dowry and money spent during the courtship was paid back. The state of Zamfara is in the north-west of the country and is approximately 500 miles away from Lagos, Nigeria's capital. It was the first state to introduce Islamic law.

The average length of an erect penis is 5.2 inches (13.12 cm), according to a report released yesterday.

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Length: Experts plotted graphs showing the size distribution of the length of the average penis when flaccid, flaccid and stretched and erect. The graph above shows average penis length of men - in centimetres - in each percentile

The average length of a flaccid penis is 3.6 inches (9.16 cm) and 5.2 inches (13.24 cm) when flaccid but stretched. And when it comes to girth, the average erect circumference was 4.6 inches (11.66 cm) and 3.7 inches (9.31 cm) when flaccid. The British research also found there was a small correlation between the erect length of a penis and a man's height.

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Girth: The researchers also plotted a nomogram showing the size distribution of the girth of the average penis. The graph shows the average penis girth of men in each percentile - again in centimetres

Source: Daily Mail UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:08 pm 
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Spanish police dismantle voodoo-linked sex trafficking ring
June 8, 2015

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A woman at the bar of the night club "Le Dallas" at La Jonquera in Spain near the French border in 2010 (AFP Photo/Raymond Roig)

Madrid (AFP) - Spanish police said Monday they had dismantled a trafficking ring they said used voodoo rituals -- including animal sacrifice -- to force Nigerian women into prostitution in Spain.

Six traffickers were arrested and four of the victims freed, police said in a statement. The women, who came to Europe on dangerous, makeshift boats, were recruited in Nigeria, where they were enticed with false promises of employment. But once they arrived in places like the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca, they were forced into prostitution.

Authorities said the traffickers attempted to keep the women submissive by performing "tribal rituals" in Nigeria that sometimes involved "animal sacrifice". They used the women's nail clippings and locks of hair to convince them that they had been placed under a spell "so they would do everything asked of them, under the threat of death to them or their family", police said.

The women had travelled across northern Africa to get to Spain illegally, making the arduous journey on foot and then by boat. But after arriving, they were swept into the sex trafficking world, and threatened with voodoo from Nigeria. "Women take on a debt up to 50,000 euros ($56,000), and swear obedience to a 'madam' and traffickers," police said.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:56 pm 
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Nigeria urged to repeal its anti-gay law by human rights group
By MICHELLE FAUL
29 June 2015

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's draconian law against gays has encouraged mob attacks, police torture, evictions and public whippings, according to a report Monday that urges the country's new president to repeal the legislation.

The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act is "the constitutionalization of hate and hate crimes against LGBTI individuals," writes Bisi Alimi in the report published by the PEN American Center and the New York-based Leitner Center for International Law and Justice.

It calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to end the legalized discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender and intersex minorities, charging it denies them freedom of expression, association, assembly and other rights guaranteed by Nigeria's constitution and international covenants signed by Nigeria.

The act became law here 18 months ago and calls for punishment of up to 14 years in jail for gay marriage and up to 10 years for organizing or belonging to a gay group. The law makes it a crime to not report a homosexual to police, threatening the families and friends of gays.

Nigerian groups documented 105 human rights violations against gays in the first 12 months after the bill's passage in January 2014, including assaults, mob attacks and blackmail. In one case, a police officer pretending to be gay joined a group being counseled about AIDS, arrested 38 men there, tortured them into naming dozens of other allegedly gay men, sparking a witch hunt in the northeastern city of Bauchi.

Many gay people fled Bauchi. Other gays who can afford it have left Nigeria. Eventually, a Shariah court sentenced five men to public whippings where bystanders demanded the death sentence.

Nobody has been tried under the anti-gay law, but it "has given people the right to exercise jungle justice," said Nigerian writer and professor Unoma Azuah, adding that gays "can't go anywhere to seek justice."

Source: AP

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:36 pm 
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53 arrested in Nigeria for celebrating gay wedding: Police
19 April 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigerian police say they have arrested 53 young men who celebrated a gay wedding and charged them with "belonging to a gang of unlawful society."

Prosecuting officer Mannir Nasir told a court on Wednesday that the young men were arrested Saturday in the northern city of Zaria while attending a party organized for two men who got married last week.

While Nigerian law bans gay marriage, some couples conduct informal ceremonies.

The 53 men pleaded not guilty to charges that also included conspiracy and unlawful assembly. They were granted bail, and their next hearing has been set for May 8.

Source: AP

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:07 am 
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The juju curse that binds trafficked Nigerian women into sex slavery
By Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo and Annie Kelly
3 September 2017

Every night as dusk falls in Piazza Gastone in the Noce district of Palermo, a tall, imposing Ghanaian woman dressed in traditional west African robes stands before a small congregation sweating in rows of plastic chairs before her.

The Pentecostal Church of Odasani has been converted from an old garage in a backstreet into a place of worship, albeit one unrecognised by any formal faith group. But what many of the congregation – largely young Nigerian women – have come for tonight is more than prayer; it is freedom. “Nigerian women come to me for help, they have bad spirits that have been put inside their bodies by people who want to make money from them,” says the self-proclaimed prophetess, as she prepares to start her service.

She gestures to her devotees, who sit nervously fiddling with their phones as they wait for her to begin. “The spirit is forcing them to remain in a life of prostitution. When they come to Europe and realise they can’t live this life, they come to me and I help free them of this juju forever.” She says she has spent the past 10 years battling the juju curses that are potentially keeping tens of thousands of Nigerian women under the control of human traffickers across Europe.

The abuse of religious and cultural belief systems in Nigeria has proved a deadly and effective control mechanism for traffickers involved in the recruitment of women destined for the sex trade in Europe. A hugely profitable and well-organised criminal industry has been operating between Italy and Nigeria for more than two decades but the UN’s International Organisation for Migration says it has seen an almost 600% rise in the number of potential sex trafficking victims arriving in Italy by sea over the past three years.

In 2016 its staff registered more than 11,000 Nigerian women at landing points in Sicily, with more than 80% of them victims of trafficking and destined for a life of forced prostitution on street corners and in brothels across Italy and Europe. Before they left Nigeria, many of them will have been made to undergo traditional oath-taking ceremonies involving complicated and frightening rituals often using the women’s blood, hair and clothing. These rituals – which have become known as the “juju” – bond the woman to her trafficker and to any debts she will incur. The rituals make it clear that failure to pay off those debts will result in terrible things happening to the woman and her family.

“This juju might seem like something small or meaningless to people here in Europe, but to the women these curses are real and they are terrifying,” says Princess Inyang Okokon, who runs Piam Onlus, an anti-trafficking NGO and who was herself taken from Nigeria to Italy in 1998. “Using these very old belief systems passed down through generations is a psychological form of control that is much stronger than any violence that can be done to them.”

Psychologists in hospitals across Sicily say they are witnessing a growing mental health crisis in these women among Nigerians who have been persuaded to leave their traffickers by the authorities or NGOs. At the Vittorio Emanuele hospital in Catania, 20 Nigerian women are being treated by the psychiatric department – double the number last year. “These women, who are brought to us by our emergency staff, have been abused, they have been raped, imprisoned and blackmailed. Some of them are as young as 12,” says Dr Aldo Virgilio.

He says that 80% of those coming to the outpatient clinic are asylum seekers. “Already this year we have seen 80 cases of women being brought to us, but many refuse food and treatment, they are afraid something is coming to hurt them. We cannot convince them that this is not the case. We can treat their symptoms with drugs but this doesn’t resolve the deep-set psychological fractures that have occurred. So aside from the drugs there is little we can do for them.”

At the Paolo Giaccone hospital in Palermo, Dr Filippo Casadei and Dr Maria Chiara Monti are trying to help five Nigerian women referred by migrant reception centres and shelters. They say that while they understand the women’s psychotic episodes, hallucinations, panic attacks, insomnia and fits to be the physical signs of post-traumatic stress disorders, the women themselves see them as proof that the juju is coming to punish them for leaving their traffickers and breaking their oaths. “On top of the terrible abuse they have faced while being trafficked, the juju is a constant source of strain on these women, they feel under constant threat and this creates a kind of psychological dependency and addiction,” says Monti. “So when they leave their traffickers, the pressure of the years of carrying this curse on their shoulders can break them.”

Casadei says that they recently had a young patient who had been trafficked from her home town in Edo state and had been referred to the hospital after escaping her traffickers. “She had been doing so well. We were so proud of her. She’d escaped her captors, had been living independently,” Casadei says. “But then one day she received a package in the post from her home town. She couldn’t tell us what was inside but we knew it was related to the juju curse that she’d been made to undergo before her journey to Europe. She had a severe psychotic episode, a very violent reaction to whatever was in that package and we never saw her again.”

Casadei and Monti admit they are at a loss to know how to help the women. “It is pointless trying to say that these curses are not real, these women need to believe in a treatment or solution and there is an impenetrable wall between our two belief systems,” says Casadei. “Our approach of western psychology is virtually useless in these cases.”

Prosecutors say that the juju’s hold over the women is hindering their fight against the traffickers. “Because of the juju, Nigerian women become the perfect victims of sexual slavery,” says Salvatore Vella, a prosecutor in Agrigento. “Gangs know they can trust them, they know women are not going to report them to the police because they are afraid of the consequences for breaking the juju. And this makes our investigation harder. It is almost impossible to find witnesses among Nigerian prostitutes because of the ritual. Maybe one in 20 is ready to speak out. The rest of them are stuck in a wall of silence and fear.’’

There is also evidence of Nigerian criminal gangs in Sicily being in touch with the traditional priests who conduct the rituals. “They are providing the traffickers in Italy with all the information they need to terrify and control their victims. When the women arrive the traffickers know their names, real ages, names of their relatives, and above all the name of the “priest” who conducted the juju ceremonies. You don’t need to use violence if you have this sort of control.”

Some local African leaders on the island are trying to form a bridge between the authorities and victims to try to break the psychological chains. Sister Mary Anne Nwiboko, a Catholic nun working in a convent in Carlentini in Syracuse, says she has helped more than 300 Nigerian women escape their traffickers since 1998. A trained counsellor and psychotherapist, she works with the police to help identify and approach potential victims. “I have always battled the juju,” she says. “I do not believe in these ceremonies but I understand the power that they hold over these women.”

In recent months, she says the number of women independently seeking her out to help them escape the juju curses has risen sharply. She says she invites them into her convent and uses prayer and song to try to get them to trust her. “These women are very far away from their home. I know their language, their world, it helps me explain that they don’t need to be afraid. Behind every one of these ceremonies is money and I try to show this to the women. That this is not magic, it is just a way to keep them under their control.”

The influence of a handful of west African self-styled Pentecostal priests and traditional healers who are claiming to exorcise juju spells is also on the rise. Small informal churches, like the one in Noce, have sprung up in disused buildings and private homes. This is concerning charities such as Médecins sans Frontières who believe they are often working in tandem with traffickers to keep the women under their control. “Sometimes these preachers are the very same people who are reminding the women that they must not fail to pay their debt,” says Lilian Pizzi, a psychotherapist with MSF.

The Odasani “priestess” vigorously denies that she is doing anything but using “her power” to save the lives of the women who come to her door. This evening, after she has started her service, she invites a young woman asking to be freed of her traffickers to stand in the middle of a circle. The congregation starts to chant and pray, their voices getting louder and faster as the ceremony progresses. The priestess blesses water and oil before conducting a traditional ritual of purification, dousing the woman and commanding the bad spirits to leave her forever.

“I ask the spirit, what is your name? And the spirit answers. And I say, in the name of the Lord depart from my daughter,” she says, raising her arms to the sky. “For many when they leave here the juju has departed their bodies. If they believe this then they are healed and they are free. But if they don’t believe then it is no good. If they don’t believe then there is nothing I can do to help them.”

Source: The Observer UK

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:14 pm 
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A Nasty Boy - the new magazine in Nigeria daring to subvert gender norms
By Catherine Bennett
22 September 2017

Men with thick sweeps of eyeliner, long hair, and glitzy shoulder-baring dresses are centre stage in new Nigerian online publication A Nasty Boy. Its founder hopes to challenge gender norms with provocative images of gender fluidity, particularly in a conservative country with a rigid view of gender binaries and draconian laws against the LGBTQ community.

Richard Akuson launched the magazine in February 2017. At only 23 years old, Akuson is a veteran of the fashion industry with freelance work at Cosmopolitan Nigeria and Marie Claire South Africa, and a stint as fashion editor at lifestyle website Bella Naija. He currently runs his own PR agency The PR Boy which has a focus on fashion and lifestyle brands.

A Nasty Boy’s fashion shoots regularly picture male models in make-up and womenswear, and female models in men’s clothing. One photo story shows a bare-chested man made up with shiny lipgloss and glitter frosting his cheekbones, staring defiantly at the camera; another features two men posing on a beach, oozing sex appeal in sequinned dresses and form-fitting cigarette trousers. The images are glossy and rebellious, and even more so in a country like Nigeria, a strongly religious society where androgyny and cross-dressing are often associated with homosexuality, which is a crime in Nigeria.

Sexual acts between people of the same sex were already illegal under Nigeria’s Criminal Code. Passage of the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act (SSMPA), which became law in January 2014, drove the country’s LGBTQ scene even further underground. The law bans “amorous” relationships between people of the same sex, and imposes a 10-year prison sentence on anyone who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisation”.

For the moment, the magazine is online-only, but Akuson has already started working towards a print issue. With his magazine, Akuson wanted to open up a conversation about gender norms and sexuality in the country, and make it acceptable for men to do things like wear make-up and nail polish.

Gender fluidity exists in Nigeria without it being recognised as gender fluidity. There are two notable Nigerians who cross-dress. One is a TV personality: Denrele. He has a rock kind of style, big and loud wigs, almost a bit of drag. He was big in the early 2000s and is still very much relevant. The person who is most relevant nowadays is Bobrisky, who cross-dresses, wears wigs, wears make up, lipstick, and does his nails. He looks like a girl.

You would imagine that these celebrities wouldn’t be able to exist in a place like Nigeria but they do. Bobrisky has the most followed Snapchat in Nigeria, and you have to pay 10,000 naira [around 23 euros] to get access to his premium account. However, the media has made him into a caricature, more a comedic character than who he is as a person. He’s a sensation, but he’s not taken seriously – people make fun of him.

The FRANCE 24 Observers team spoke to William Rashidi, an LGBTQ activist in the country and director of Queer Alliance Nigeria, an organisation that fights to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community, to ask about how people who are gay or genderqueer (who have a fluid gender identity) are treated in the country.

"The media is such a strong tool for advocacy, outreach, and education. I really think that publications like A Nasty Boy can open up people’s minds. I think it is pioneering because it is addressing this idea of gender fluidity: we are not discussing sexual orientation here; we are discussing gender. You can be gender-fluid and straight; you can be gender-fluid and gay. What you wear and how you express yourself does not define your sexual orientation. It’s beautiful that we have a magazine that deconstructs this rigidity around masculinity that we have, and expresses the male gender in a very fluid way."

"Gender fluidity is not criminalised in the country like homosexuality is. Men are able to cross-dress for the purpose of entertainment. But it is stigmatised because it is associated with your sexuality. It’s controversial in a hostile country like this. Celebrities like Denrele and Bobrisky have been very controversial, but lots of followers love them for what they do, and attitudes towards gender are evolving."

"People are beginning to be more open to the idea that people can be gender-fluid. I have seen a lot of Nigerian men wearing shoes or apparel that is typically meant for the female gender. And they’re not thinking about it in that way, but they just want to wear what they want. So the landscape around how people see these alternative lifestyles is changing, even in such a religious country that is intolerant of LGBTQ people."

Richard Akuson is adamant that the magazine is not a “gay magazine” – he says it’s also about championing youth culture in the country and finding young, new talent with a message to send.

"A lot of the models we work with are excited to explore the themes that we are interested in. We worked with one model for whom it was like escapism. It was exciting: he got to be a different person. Often models are very interested in sartorial experimentation – they might be heterosexual but sartorially curious about gender queerness and dressing in clothes that are typically girly. I wouldn’t say that the people we work with are gay or part of an LGBTQ community."

Source: France 24

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 Post subject: Re: Nigeria and sex
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:24 pm 
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In Africa, LGBT rights activists worry about Trump impact
By CARLEY PETESCH
15 October 2017

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- Gay rights activist Joseph Achille Tiedjou is worried every day that he will be harassed or arrested in Cameroon.

Defending LGBT rights can be dangerous in Africa, where many countries have laws against homosexuality. But in recent years activists have stepped out of the shadows, empowered by the support of the Obama administration and the international community. Now many fear the Trump administration will undermine those gains, and that their exposure could make them more vulnerable if support fades.

"I have so many worries with the new administration," the 32-year-old Tiedjou said, pointing out Trump's ban on transgender people in the U.S. military. "Obama was known to be very engaged. Hillary Clinton was a champion of LGBT rights and made many guarantees in addressing these issues specifically."

Obama's administration made LGBT rights a major domestic and foreign policy, though some in Africa saw it as pushing "Western ideals." The Obama administration also created a special envoy position on LGBT rights. The Trump administration has said it will keep the post, but concerns remain. "The difference with the previous administration was that the rights of LGBT people were explicitly part of foreign policy. So LGBT groups around the world could absolutely rely on the moral and, indeed, material support that came from the U.S. government and that made a huge difference," said Graeme Reid, director of Human Rights Watch's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program. "Under this administration, we are no longer going to be seeing that proactive engagement around LGBT rights."

Though the Trump administration's overseas policies on LGBT rights remain to be seen, the erosion of domestic advances directly undermines the authority of the U.S. to speak out internationally, Reid said. He cited the pushback against federal protections and the appointment of "openly homophobic officials" to senior government positions.

The U.S. recently joined a dozen other countries to vote against a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that urged countries not to use the death penalty for specific forms of conduct, including consensual same-sex relations. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the vote was made "because of broader concerns with the resolution's approach in condemning the death penalty in all circumstances" but said the U.S. "unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for conduct such as homosexuality."

Same-sex acts are illegal in more than 33 African countries and can lead to death sentences in parts of at least four, including Mauritania, Sudan, northern Nigeria and southern Somalia, according to Amnesty International. Homosexuality is criminalized in the East African countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. In Tanzania, authorities recently stopped health providers from non-governmental organizations from providing services to LGBT people.

In Cameroon, a strong ally of the U.S. in the fight against extremism, Human Rights Watch has documented high levels of arrests of LGBT people. Colonial-era anti-gay laws are still in place in Ghana and are implemented from time to time, and a high level of social intolerance and family violence exists against the LGBT community. In Gambia, where former leader Yahya Jammeh made "aggravated homosexuality" punishable by life in prison, activists are waiting to see whether new President Adama Barrow will amend the law.

In Senegal, violence is directed at LGBT communities, along with arrests, according to Human Rights Watch. "In practice the act is criminalized so it can be used broadly to detain people based on their orientation," said Francois Patuel, a West Africa researcher for Amnesty International.

But despite setbacks in some countries there have been some gains, Patuel said. The African Commission on Human and People's Rights in 2014 adopted a resolution condemning violence and discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. South Africa's constitution specifically protects the rights of LGBT and allows same-sex marriage.

The United States has provided support for HIV/AIDS and other programs that indirectly have enabled gay rights groups to form in some sub-Saharan African countries. Patuel urged that such support not be revoked under the Trump administration.

In Mali, activist and journalist N'Deye Traore said social media has been used to incite hatred against the LGBT community, discouraging people from publicly advocating change and forcing many to live in hiding and at risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS. Traore said she worries about the example set by the Trump administration. "It is the life of human beings that is at stake and must be respected!" she said. "I urge the American president to seize and at least tolerate this community for sustainable development in America and around the world."

Associated Press writer Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda contributed.
Source: AP

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