RADIO PRESENTER ON THE RUN OVER THREAT TO LIFE OVER LGBT RIGHT

A famous radio presenter with a popular radio in Nigeria and one of the biggest networks in Africa, Mr Jonathan.O Iyamu has gone into hiding over several attempts on his life for advocating for the rights of LGBT.The well-known Electronic Media practitioner and advocate came under harsh attacks and criticisms by Nigerians shortly after social media posts and his radio show – ‘’Hard Talk’’ on the rights of LGBT in Nigeria.Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which banned gay relationships and entrenched intolerance, and jail term for anyone who supports, witnesses or involved directly or indirectly, was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan on 7th January, 2014.The radio presenter who spoke with our correspondent from his hideout, explained that because of widespread societal taboos against homosexuality, intense man-hunt launched against him by different identified and unidentified groups were the reasons he went underground.Iyamu has long abandoned his official duties, which he is supposed to have resumed since 27th march, 2019 after an official assignment and this has raised questions on his whereabouts by some Nigerians and civil society organisations, just as majority call for his immediate arrest and prosecution for supporting the proscribed act in accordance with the law.Trouble may have started for Mr. Iyamu who is from the oil rich Niger Delta in the South-South region of the country who through his non governmental organization “Magdalene Iyamu Cancer Foundation” (in honour of his late mother) had been a torn in the flesh of the authorities by always confronting the government using his radio shows.The late Mrs. Iyamu died in 2011 from cancer as a result of complications from hazardous disposal after suffering for several years. Sometimes this year, Mr. Iyamu’s residence was attacked by suspected and unsuspected agents of government but the vocal radio presenter was not at home during the attack. His younger brother was however not so lucky as he was shot and the part of the house at House situated at number 50 Health Centre Road, Uwelu, Benin City was gutted by fire. All efforts to get the authorities to investigative the matter was met with brick wall as the police alleged that Mr. Iyamu must have made it up to attract public sympathy. Hence, Mr. Iyamu current ordeal has been described by observers as unfortunate as the authorities have been looking for a way to nail him.Mr. Iyamu stressed that he has been assaulted on different occasions, even by his colleague at the office for his support for LGTB right in Nigeria, noting that his existence was no longer guaranteed in the country.”Because of the law banning GLTB relationship in Nigeria as well as the wide spread societal taboo against homosexuality in Nigeria, I scamper for my dear life from being killed or jailed. My colleagues at the office see me as Lucifer who doesn’t deserve to live, series of threat calls and text messages coming into my phone have been very alarming, hence I took refuge in my hideout”‘’I have reach out for protection from the police so that I can go back to work but none is forthcoming’’The vocal radio presenter who is also a social advocate called on the western countries and international civil organisations to intensify efforts at liberating the minority LGTB in Nigeria from widespread attacks and inhuman treatment.

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