A 43-year-old man, Austen Johnson Ehiguese from Edo State, Southern Nigeria, says he is “proud to be gay”.
Ehiguese, a native of Egbele village in Esan northeast local government area in Edo state, was accused by his alleged “gay partner” of abandonment.
The accusation gathered made the father of four (4) to flee his hometown as it became clear that his life was in danger.
The problem started for Ehiguese in December 2016, when his friend, an alleged gay partner, said he was in a relationship with him.
On hearing this, the youths in the community launched a search for Ehiguese who was out of town at the time.
Since the incident gathered momentum in the community, Ehiguese was advised by his friend not to return to the community as his safety was not guaranteed.
The 43-year-old Ehiguese this medium gathered started being a gay since his secondary school days but started having issues in the community in 2016 which snowballed into 2017 thereby leaving him with no option that than to leave the country.
Despite his “gay” status, Ehiguese has managed to keep his marriage with his wife who he has had four (4) kids with.
Before Ehiguese got married to his wife, this online medium gathered that he gave his wife “a hint” about his relationship with the same sex, with a promise that he was trying his possible best to “do away with it”.
Ever since he left his hometown, Ehiguese has tried to keep his “wife in the dark” concerning his “gay status” even as he told this online medium that he intends to end the “habit”, lamenting that his children will be disappointed if they later find out about his “gay” status.
Though he intends to “do away” with being a gay, the Edo State man stressed that he will not return to Nigeria anytime soon, noting that the law of the country he is now is currently accommodating his “gay status” and as such he would only return to Nigeria only when his safety is guaranteed.
“I am still in it and I don’t regret doing it”, Ehiguese told ALEDEH when asked how he felt about his relationship status.
Asked if he plans coming back to Nigeria, Ehiguese told this online medium: “I won’t come back because I still love my life and I don’t want to die”.
Ehiguese told ALEDEH that “he is trying to do away” with being a gay but despite that, he does not have any regrets about his relationship status.
Reacting to the Nigerian law on homosexual, Ehiguese told that “the law is barbaric because it is against human freedom of association”, stressing that the law “is an anti-people law.”
In January 2014, former Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law the Bill which outlaws same-sex marriage, gay groups and public displays of affection by homosexuals.
The signed bill says gays; lesbians in Nigeria will risk a 14-year jail term if they do not retrace their steps and renounce such marriage.
Also, any person who operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations directly or indirectly will earn a 10-year imprisonment while those who administer witness, abet or aid the solemnization of a same-sex marriage are going to bag a 10-year jail term.
The decision, however, triggered condemnation by religious leaders, human rights groups and Western governments.