San Diego resident Becley Aigbuza is in danger of being deported back to Nigeria, where he was raped and tortured for being gay in 2008.
Aigbuza has lived in the United States since 1994 but on a visit to his aunt in Nigeria in 2008 she reported him to the police for being involved with a local man. He was taken from his aunt's house, locked in a cell and beaten up by the other prisoners when the police told them he was gay. Then he was taken out by three police officers and tortured and raped.
Aigbuza told human rights group EveryOne: 'After being forced to admit to them that I was gay, the police tied me up, burned my forehead with cotton wool soaked in acid and took turns sodomizing me with a beer bottle for hours. I woke up in hospital in Benin City with a dislocated shoulder, a broken hand, bruises and wounds all over my body and a mutilated testicle. I had been betrayed by my own family and cruelly punished just for loving a person of the same sex.'
By bribing a nurse Aigbuza managed to escape the hospital and Nigeria and fled back to the US. There, he contacted the Nigerian Embassy to report the abuse he had been subjected to. Aigbuza told EveryOne the Embassy official told him he deserved the treatment because he was gay and if he went back to Nigeria 'things would get much worse'.
In 2011 Aigbuza applied for US citizenship, but during the process the authorities discovered that he had applied for a credit card using a false name. Aigbuza told EveryOne that was 'the biggest mistake of my life' and said he was 'scared, dejected, depressed and without any support whatsoever' after his family disowned him and sent him death threats for being gay. The US authorities turned down his application for citizenship and started the process of deporting him back to Nigeria.
The hearing for Aigbuza's case is set for 28 February. EveryOne are appealing to the US state department, the White House and the UN to review his case and to save him from deportation back into the hands of torturers in Nigeria.
‘I’d rather die than face deportation,’ Aigbuza said. ‘What is more, my father and my relatives back in Nigeria have vowed to kill me, to cleanse “the abomination and shame I have brought upon my family by being gay”.’
Human Rights Watch World Report 2012 said that in Nigeria in 2011: ‘As in previous years, the undisciplined Nigeria Police Force was implicated in frequent human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and extortion-related abuses.’ The report also said that Nigeria’s criminal code punishes consensual gay sex with up to 14 years in prison and in Muslim states applying Sharia law, homosexual sex among men is punishable by death by stoning, and by flogging and six months in prison for women.