The Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Gombe State, Muhammad Bello, has disclosed that 21 persons out of the 76 arrested at a gay wedding have been confirmed as homosexuals.
Recall that 76 persons were arrested by operatives of the corps at Duwa Plaza along the Bauchi-Gombe Expressway, following a tip off on a planned same-sex wedding.
Bello, who disclosed this on Thursday, November 2, in an interview with the punch shortly after a meeting by the Reformation Committee, chaired by retired Khadi Baba Liman, said upon the arrest of the 76, they were filtered during the investigation.
According to him, it was after a due investigation that the 21 confessed to being homosexuals, adding that efforts were on to reform them.
“We identified those who were directly and indirectly involved; fair enough, we decided to bail out those who were not directly involved. One thing significant is that we didn’t impose the statuses on them but rather they identified themselves that they are homosexuals and that they want to transfer in being a male to female,” the commandant said.
“They exhibited this in so many platforms by showing the desire to change their sexes which is uncalled for and not desirable. Currently, while we were able to come up with 21 of them because previously they were 22 in number, checking them closely, we realised that a child of about 12-13 years was among them; so, we decided to take him out of the midst.”
He disclosed that the command approached health agencies to confirm their well-being, noting that there were HIV positive cases among the suspects.
“We approached the Gombe State AIDS Control Agency to confirm their statuses. We realised that there were some that had contracted HIV. We also took them to the General Hospital to confirm further about other areas now on whether they had other sicknesses only to realise some of them have hepatitis. When they submitted the report, we asked for the typology of the hepatitis to be sure. Then, the result confirmed that some have hepatitis B,” Bello added.
While affirming the need to respect human rights, Bello noted that the command would continue to respect fundamental human rights.
“What I want the entire world to know is that we are not subjecting them to prison as some are circulating. The most important thing is to opt for a better alternative towards reforming these people to become better human beings. The Gombe NSCDC will not contravene any existing law or any right that they are entitled to. As suspects, they are entitled to protection as enshrined in the law,” he added.
On the essence of the multi-sectoral committee set up by the Gombe State Government, Bello said, “It’s a way forward for reformation. The idea is on how to see how they (suspects) can be reformed.”
Also speaking, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Gombe State chapter, Joseph Shinga, urged the government to support the suspects towards becoming better residents.
“They can still be reformed to better persons,” Shinga said.