Nigerian writer Chibuihe Obi has reportedly been kidnapped after publishing an essay on queerphobia.
The writer, poet and photographer published a personal essay detailing his own experience with queerphobia in the country on May 17.
Following the essay being published in Brittle Paper, Obi has not been heard from since June 1.
Those close to the writer have taken to Facebook to express their worries over his whereabouts.
Many believe that he was kidnapped by “homophobic thieves”.
This group are allegedly known for kidnapping and targeting other LGBT writers who they threatened to “hunt down” and “kill them”.
One person wrote on Facebook: “Dear Senator Sola Adeyeye, I am begging you in the name of everything, if you really care for me, help me, join hands with Senator Ben Murray-Bruce to find the Nigerian writer, Chibuihe Obi. I am distraught beyond words. Help the Nigerian writing community. This young man must be found alive. He is our son! I am begging you!”
One person told GSN that the last known whereabouts of Obi was in Umuahia, where his mother lives.
However, someone else saw Obi in Owerri on the day that people lost contact with him, but this may be speculation and is unconfirmed information.
“Three of those people happened to be with us when they got the messages – that’s when we knew what had happened. Half of their messages are homophobic, death threats or promises to hunt down other queer writers,” the anonymous source said.
LGBT people who engage in same-sex relationships in Nigeria are at risk of a 10-year-prison sentence.
Those who participate in “gay clubs, societies and organisations” can also face a prison sentence.
Reverend Hide Macaulay, an openly gay theologian, condemned the recent disappearances of LGBT people in the country.
“The LGBTQ people are suffering and now there is a new crime of kidnapping those who dare to speak up, especially activist like Chibuihe Obi who use the media platform and blog to write about the abuses of LGBTQ people in Nigeria,” the reverend said.
“This is not good, he states. ‘LGBTQ people in Nigeria deserves the full protection of the law, and not be terrified. It’s time to challenge the homophobia and ignorance of the society on the existence of lesbians and gays.”
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