The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) strongly condemns the murder of Akinnifesi Olumide Olubunmi. Mr. Akinnifesi was attacked by a group of youths in Ondo West Local Government, Ondo State, and died on February 18, 2016 as a result of his injuries. The attack was motivated by his perceived sexual orientation, and particularly for his sexual liaison with a councilor in the Ondo West Local Government. There is a continuing threat to the life of the councilor as well as the families of the victims and their properties in Ondo West local Government, Ondo State.
We strongly condemn the invasion of privacy, violation of the rights to life, dignity, personal liberty, and fair hearing of the victims through this act of violence based on their real or perceived sexual orientation. The attack on Mr. Akinnifesi is barbaric, inhuman and a gross denial of his rights under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As a Human Rights organization with specific focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-person rights, we are deeply concerned about this violence meted against Mr. Akinnifesi based on his real or perceived sexual orientation. This murder further reinforces the level of injustice experienced by persons who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Trans-person in Nigeria.
We believe that such a barbaric act towards any citizen is unjustifiable, regardless of the circumstances and regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We believe that the Federal, states and local governments have a high responsibility to protect the life of every citizen regardless of public opinion on the citizen’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. We urge the Ondo State Government to speak out against this barbaric act of violence.
WE THEREFORE IMMEDIATELY REQUEST THE FOLLOWING FROM CONCERNED PARTIES.
ONDO STATE GOVERNMENT
We urgently call on the Ondo State Government and, in particular, the Governor, Mr. Olusegun Mimiko to investigate the murder of Mr. Akinnifesi Olumide Olubunmi and ensure that all those who committed this unjust act are made to face justice regardless of their position within the society.
NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
We call on the Nigerian Police authority, specifically the Commissioner for Police in Ondo State, to immediately launch an investigation into the killing of Mr. Akinnifesi and ensure that those involved in the act are apprehended.
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
We call on the National Human Rights Commission to act on its statutory mandate and launch an investigation into the incident, particularly, the ensuing mob violence and death of the victim.
Finally, we call on all law-abiding Nigerians to condemn and speak out against jungle justice and other inhuman acts of violence by demanding justice for the victim. The right to life of every Nigerian is sacrosanct irrespective of their class, status, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.