Gay man from San Diego faces deportation to homophobic Nigeria

Published: February 1, 2012

SAN DIEGO – A second gay man from Africa living in San Diego is in danger of being deported to a homophobic country where his life would be placed in great danger.

Becley Aigbuza, 28, was only 11 when he left Benin, Nigeria. He has been living in the U.S. since 1994, and now calls America’s Finest City his home. Aigbuza’s next hearing, scheduled for Feb. 28, will likely decide on whether he is deported to his homeland.

Aigbuza and fellow San Diego resident Joseph Bukombe face deportation to African nations where it is illegal to be gay. Nigeria and Uganda, where Bukombe is from, are among the 76 nations where homosexuality is illegal. Bukombe is currently awaiting an appeal hearing in his deportation case.

Appeal on behalf of Becley Aigbuza

The humanitarian organization EveryOne Group For International Cooperation on Human Rights Culture has taken up Aigbuza’s case and is urging the international community to appeal to President Barack Obama, the U.S. State Department, the United Nations and California Gov. Jerry Brown for intervention:

“We are asking that Becley Aigbuza be granted immediate humanitarian protection according to the Geneva Convention and the Convention against Torture. Nigerian law foresees imprisonment of up to 14 years for homosexuality, as punishment for offending public morality. In the north of the country, where Islamic Sharia law is in force, gay people are even sentenced to death. We are asking the Obama administration (which has shown its solidarity for the civil struggles and achievements of LGBT people on several occasions) to take Becley’s case to heart, annul his deportation and grant him refugee status in the United States.” – Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-presidents of EveryOne Group
For links to make appeals on behalf of Aigbuza, visit EveryOne Group’s website.

Background of Becley Aigbuza

Aigbuza told investigators from EveryOne Group that he endured a childhood of verbal and physical abuse from his family because he was “different” than other children. While in college, he came out in 2005 at the age of 22, and he was beaten by his father, disowned, and ordered out of the family’s home.

In 2008, Aigbuza went to Nigeria to visit his paternal aunt, who had cared for him early in his life. There, he began a relationship with another man, but his aunt reported him to police. Aigbuza said he was arrested, jailed, beaten up by other inmates, and suffered torture and rape.

“After being forced to admit to them that I was gay, the police tied me up, burned my forehead with cotton wool soaked in acid and took turns sodomizing me with a beer bottle for hours. I woke up in hospital in Benin City with a dislocated shoulder, a broken hand, bruises and wounds all over my body and a mutilated testicle. I had been betrayed by my own family and cruelly punished just for loving a person of the same sex.” – Becley told the human rights defenders from EveryOne Group
Aigbuza escaped from the hospital with the aid of a nurse, then fled from Nigeria with the help of a priest who managed to find him a new passport. He returned to San Diego, where he filed a complaint with the Nigerian Embassy and was basically told that he got what he deserved.

A slip in judgment has cost him dearly.

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