Save-Our – Soul: Social activist cries out to UN, US, EU

By Tony Udemba

Following another round of failed  assassination attempt on the lives of the aged parents of Mr. Ebareki Lucky Owhoaridhowo, Executive Director of Social Justice and Civic Rights Group, SJCRG, he has cried out to the United Nations, United States of America and the European Union, saying that their lives are in danger, even as he alleged that some desperate members of his community were working hand in hand with agents of the government in the plot to whip away his family by all means for no just cause.

In a telephone interview with the reporter from his new base in Holland, the social activist had sent a Save-Our- Souls message to the UN and western nations, seeking for their urgent intervention in order to save him and his aged parents from incessant threats to life from the hands of the agents of death whom he alleged were bent on killing them due to his bisexual nature.

He alleged that few days ago his family home in Isoko North LGA of Delta State was attacked by heavily armed men, fully dressed in military uniform. He stated that the gunmen stormed the compound at the middle of the night, firing sporadically as they broke into their apartment and ransacked everywhere in their infamous mission to kill and destroy. In his words,” the assailants shot their way into our family home, pulling down the doors, destroying household furniture and other amenities, while searching everywhere for them. But, unfortunately for the suspects, no one was at home at that unholy hour, as my parents had traveled to Benin a day earlier for the wedding ceremony of a close relative. Certainly, that turned out to be another saving grace for the family”.

Ebareki recalled how they had in a number of times managed to escape from similar attacks by suspected gunmen, saying,  “ in a particular incident before I fled to Europe, a band of assassins had fired gun shots at a bus conveying some family members, including my humble self and parents and few others, while on our way to the graduation ceremony of a younger brother. The gunmen had tried to block our vehicle, but the driver of the bus miraculously swerved off the highway and rammed into a herd of cows, thereby attracting the swift attention of a nearby crowd who were watching a local wrestling contest”.

Throwing more light on his ordeal, he narrated how his problems began in Calabar, Cross River state in 2016, when he and few other male colleagues, including Clement and Hailliot, were reported to the Police for engaging in homosexual conducts, an act still adjudged to be illegal under the Nigerian laws.  Continuing, he stated that , “ based on the complaint of homosexual practices made against me and a few male friends, including Clement and Hilliot, we were subsequently declared wanted by the police, while my community also banished me from our village.  Realizing that my life was in danger and that I cannot walk freely again, I quickly went into hiding to avert the violation of my fundamental human rights, intimidation, persecution and possible jail, amongst others”. He revealed how he instituted a legal action, through his lawyers, seeking for the protection and exercise of his fundamental human rights, even as he further filed another law suite at the ECOWAS Court (a regional court of the Economic Community of West African States). However, he regretted that despite all his efforts to seek for justice against impending dangers to his freedom of expression and fundamental human rights, the court actions failed like a pack of cards as a result of what he referred to as “the draconian laws” prohibiting homosexual and lesbianism practices in Nigeria and the continent of Africa.

It would be recalled that the Same Sex Marriage ( prohibition ) Act which was passed into law by the Senate and the Federal House of Representatives in Nigeria, in 2014, prescribed far reaching sanctions and consequences on anyone caught having any form of sexual relationship with same sex, and upon conviction and sentencing such a person would face 14 years imprisonment without any option of fine.

Among other harsh contents of the law is that which stipulates that parents  must report the homosexuality/ bisexuality of their children or face 10 years jail term for failure to do so. Another section makes it compulsory for landlords not to rent accommodations to homosexuals/bisexuals/ lesbians or face 10 years in jail, even as employers and doctors are prohibited from offering employments or treatments to homosexuals/ bisexuals or face 10 years imprisonment, respectively.

While disclosing on how he became a gay, Ebareki  says, “ sometime in the year 1994 during my secondary school education, I discovered that I was sexually attracted to both male and female students. And due to my sexual inclination to both my male and female students, I engaged in numerous sexual activities with male and female students with similar interests.“most of my fam9ly became embarrassed because of my bisexual and homosexual lifestyle. This sprouted to hatred and discord, and thereafter I was ostracized and banished by family members and our community, the exception of my aged parents due to the burden of parenthood.

In view of the hardship I faced from such segregation, I made strenuous efforts to curb my overwhelming sexual desire for both males and females but to no avail.

“ my parents in their quest to re-unite me with the rest of the family members, took me to a healing church for deliverance, believing that I would be cured of satanic sexual desire for both male and female as they believed that was the cause.

” I tried to be a new person as my parents had wished me to be but It was difficult for me  not to have natural attraction for males”.

Speaking further, the social activist stated that he finally fled the country when it became obviously clear to him that his life was in danger, and after a group of assassins stormed his hide out in a remote village. According to him, “ in the midst of the whole confusion, I kept receiving death threats  from unknown persons.  Things later took a dangerous turn one night, when a group of gun men invaded my hide-out around midnight. They were shooting and demanding that I open my door. They forcefully gained access into my house and discovered that no one was at home”. Ebareki further alleged that the main reason why his community ostracized him, and even plotted to kill him and his parents was due to his bisexual/ homosexual conducts. According to him, they had regarded his sexual attraction to same sex  as an  abomination  and bringing shame to the community, with death as the traditional sanction for such conducts. “ while similarly, the search for me by the police was essentially targeted at harming and committing me to jail”.

Pix:  Mr Ebareki Lucky Owhoaridhowo