In November 2022, a distressing incident occurred in Mamobi involving a couple who were attacked due to their sexual orientation. The victims, identified as Yacoub Akwei Nii and an anonymous individual, had been in a loving (sexual) relationship despite societal challenges.
During their intimate moment on the evening of November 28, a group of approximately nine armed men forcibly entered their room, threatening their lives and subjecting them to physical assault.
Disturbingly, the attackers captured photos of the victims during the ordeal. Following the assault, the victims were left injured, with Yacoub Akwei Nii losing consciousness. The injured individual woke up in a small clinic in Nima, unaware of who had brought him there.
The doctor informed him that his injuries were severe and potentially life-threatening. After spending several days in the hospital, he was discharged on December 5, 2022. Seeking justice, he tried reporting the incident to the Nima police station.
However, he allegedly faced hostility from some security personnel who he mentioned used derogatory language and threatened him with imprisonment and violence should he continue disturning them with his abominable sexual choices, leaving the case undocumented and him in fear for his life.
The situation worsened for the victim when he returned home. His mother disowned him, citing shame brought upon the family. Fearing for his safety, he fled his community and sought refuge in Ablekuma.
Eventually, he connected with another gay individual, Philip Logozor, who was also facing threats in Labadi. Together, they formed a relationship and started a phone business in Ablekuma. Tragically, their respite was short-lived. On February 25, 2023, a group of individuals attacked them in their shop, looting their merchandise and leaving them fearing for their lives once again.
The Yacoub Akwei Nii’s children had been taken away by their mother to protect them from potential harm in their community – children he had during periods in his life when he was pushed to live as a heterosexual man, a lifestyle he confessed to being impossible to continue living.
In a stroke of luck, the victim encountered an LGBT activist who provided assistance in acquiring travel documents, enabling him to escape Ghana for his safety – unable to live a life with his family and be free for who he truly is, and being marked for abuses and attacks by anyone who becomes aware of his sexuality and history.
Now with hopes for a more accepting environment in America, where he can rebuild his life and live freely and peacefully – Yacoub Akwei Nii is a man without a home in the very place he was born and grew up. On April 20, 2023, I and my friend were subjected to harassment and physical assault by an officer solely because of our sexual orientation.
The incident occurred when the officer, displaying clear prejudice against LGBTQ individuals, targeted me with the intention of making an arrest. In a shocking act of violence, he repeatedly punched me from both sides, leaving me injured and traumatized.
Yacoub Akwei Nii opened up on an incident that occurred on April 20, 2023, “on 20th April 2023 another security personnel harassed me and my friend, punched me left and right just bcos I’m Gay and he wants to arrest me.”
This harrowing account highlights the urgent need for Ghana to reconsider its discriminatory stance toward LGBTQ individuals, promoting a more inclusive and tolerant society but that would be the case for another day as the country prepares religiously to put punishments in place to fight and criminalize same-sex relationships.
Having been aware and hearing the story of Yacoub Akwei Nii, my heart jumped with sorrow knowing that, the choices people make can become their own prison and an outcast to the society they know and grew up with. Cover Photo Permission was granted by both Yacoub Akwei Nii (left) and Philip Logozor (right).
Photos have been blurred to protect their anonymity.