UPDATE: Was Nigerian Snapchat Star Bobrisky Arrested for Being Gay? Police Say No.
Idris Okuneye, also known as Bobrisky on social media, was arrested in Lagos—and it's still unclear why.
UPDATE (11/09/2017): Edgal Imohimi, Lagos State's Acting Commission of Police, says to Punch that no report was made against Nigerian social media influencer Bobrisky.
"I don't know about the arrest, and the command did not arrest him. He does not have any problem with the command. Ask him who arrested him," Imohimi says.
Sahara Reporters also spoke with lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria Festus Keyamo where he says Bobrisky can't be jailed for publicly admitting he is gay "unless caught in the act."
"Yes, it may amount to corrupting public moral when you go on social media to announce you are gay," he says to Sahara Reporters, "but we are talking about the law here and not sentiment and if we are talking about the law, the person has to be caught in the act."
Here's our original report from Nov. 8 below:
Bobrisky, Nigeria's self-proclaimed male Barbie and social media influencer, has been arrested in Lagos, Nigeria, according to Sahara Reporters.
The internet, local outlets and blogs have been buzzing with speculation as to why Bobrisky, or Idris Okuneye, was arrested. However, many reports have been attributing the arrest to an admission he made Monday of being gay on social media.
If the allegations are true, he could face up to 14 years in prison if found guilty of homosexuality.
Other reports have also linked his arrest to a recent social media dispute Bobrisky had with entrepreneur Toyin Lawani—whose assistant has since refuted the claim.
Linda Ikeji's Blog (LIB) reached out to Famous Cole, Lagos State Police PRO, who says he was not aware of such arrest. "Maybe he was invited for questioning or he went voluntarily to make a complaint," he says to LIB.
Since this news broke, Nigerians have been contentiously debating on whether LGBTQ people should be jailed. Many have been celebrating his arrest—which in turn exposes problematic and homophobic opinions for all to see.
Just one day in police custody and Bobrisky already looking like a man. See his beard all jumping out. https://t.co/xwtsgr6z47— Oddlean ⚡ (@Oddlean ⚡) 1510118555.0
Bobrisky finally arrested, that took so long fam— Amigo (@Amigo) 1510085670.0
Finally Bobrisky has been arrested for doing Risky things. 🏃 Is God not a wonderful God. 🙌 https://t.co/5OIdvQBnOV— Burnt DODO 🌚 (@Burnt DODO 🌚) 1510137867.0
Saw Bobrisky's photos at the police station....It is looking like a guy now...Nigerian police have reset it's gender so fast.— Uche Daniel (@Uche Daniel) 1510138183.0
Bobrisky has been able to utilize social media to be open and himself—one of the few safe spaces to be in a place that's deceitfully claims to be a progressive nation. He's ultimately a human being—and no person or government should determine how he's to live his life.
Many others agree.
Your senator is married to a 9- year old; Your pastor/cleric are sleeping with brainwashed congregants; Your politi… https://t.co/Yi7R2K2jSv— Juliet 'Kego (@Juliet 'Kego) 1510148371.0
This is so upsetting. As problematic as I find Bobrisky to be, being gay shouldn’t be grounds to arrest anybody.… https://t.co/U2by80zPkr— Kelechi Okafor (@Kelechi Okafor) 1510130545.0
Last month, a policeman abducted and raped a 14 yr old girl for 6 days till her vaj ruptured. The NPF in the state… https://t.co/ynz3b09GZe— Flaw. (@Flaw.) 1510120475.0
As annoying and problematic as Bobrisky is. The homophobic laws in Nigeria are inhumane. https://t.co/MP85jC5myD— Exodus and Upheavals (@Exodus and Upheavals) 1510093749.0
Being gay is not be a crime #FreeBobrisky https://t.co/JMUkFPP2bM— Princess Vitarah (@Princess Vitarah) 1510104008.0