*By Emmanuel Edom*
Controversy have continued to trail the purported arrest of over 57 suspected gay, allegedly undergoing initiation rites into Homosexual club at Kelly Ann Hotel, Egbeda part of Lagos State, last Sunday.
While the Police Authority alleged that all the suspects in their custody are homosexuals contravening the 2014 Same Sex Marriage Act, some of the suspects have denied the charge, claiming that Police invaded a unisex birthday party and arrested only the male participants, then letting the females off the hook.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Edgal Omohimi, had while parading the suspects on Monday, at his command headquarter in Ikeja, Lagos, said that all the suspects were caught in the Act, at about 2a.m, while performing homosexual initiation of new entrants.
According to him, “Intelligence gathered revealed that some youths will be initiated into Gay/Homosexual club by 2a.m at Kelly Ann Hotel, located at No. 3-7 Adenrele Street, Egbeda, an action contrary to Section 1 (1) of Same Sex Marriage Act 2014”.
Continued he: Consequent upon this, operatives led by DPO Shasha and DPO Oliver Ezirim of Idimu police division, stormed the venue and on arrival, young men numbering about 80 were met in a hall. They were taking different types of drinks, including banned substances like Tramadol, Shisha laced with substances suspected to be marijuana.
“As soon as they sighted the Police, they ran into different directions, but the team arrested 57 of them”.
However, in an interview with our correspondent, over Ten of the suspects arrested denied the allegation and challenged the Police to provide evidence of the charges leveled against them.
Some of the suspects, who debunked Police allegation, claimed that they had converged in the hotel for a birthday party before police swooped on them.
They further contradicted Police earlier claims that their gathering was an all men affair and accused the police of releasing on bail, some of the girls arrested along side with them in order to support the allegation.
Among the suspects, is a 20 years old James Obialor, who claimed to be a dancer and HIV Positive Patient. He challenged the police to provide proof of their allegation that they are homosexuals. “I was contracted by a friend to perform at his birthday party and my continued detention is hampering my health, as I have been denied access to my HIV drugs”.
Another suspect, Olasunkanmi Wale, who claimed to be a graduate awaiting his call-up letter for youth service, collaborated other suspects’ claims that it was not an all-male party as claimed by the police.
Olasunkanmi, who denied being a gay, berated the police for swooping on them and tagging them homosexuals before the public.
Another suspect, a 23 years old Daniel Sukari, who claimed he came from Abua in Rivers State to contest for Mr. Tourism Beauty Pageant, said thus, “ I was just relaxing at the hotel before the police came, but I refused to run because I felt I had nothing incriminating and have not committed any offense”.
Contesting his arrest, Victor Joseph, an Ikorodu resident and a Chef working with The Harvest Hotel, Lekki, said “I attended a Naming Ceremony at NICCON quarters, Egbeda, I was at the hotel gate while searching for a place to lodge before I was arrested”.
Other suspects like Rotimi Samuel, 22 years old graduate of Mass Communication, Yaba College of Technology and Bobby Sam, who claimed to be a supplier to the hotel, denied membership of the Homosexual Club.
However, the physical appearance, heavy make-up, hairstyles and near full blown breast of some of the suspects appears to betray the others denial.
CP Edgal said suspects will be arraigned in court as a deterrent to other youths.