Nigeria Arrests Dozens Over Same-Sex Wedding

Nigeria Arrests Dozens Over Similar-Intercourse Wedding ceremony

The police in Nigeria have arrested over 60 individuals who have been in attendance at what the authorities claimed was a same-sex wedding ceremony, reinforcing a crackdown on L.G.B.T.Q. individuals in Africa’s most populous nation.

The police additionally broadcast the identities of a few of these arrested on social media and inspired members of the general public to assist “uphold the ethical requirements of the society” by offering related info — strikes that raised concern that those that attended the occasion could be subjected to stigma or violence.

Beneath a 2014 legislation, anybody getting into a same-sex marriage or civil union in Nigeria may be imprisoned for as much as 14 years. Those that administer or witness such a ceremony can resist 10 years in jail. On the time it was enacted, the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, mentioned the legislation violated primary human rights protections.

Brilliant Edafe, a police spokesman in Delta State in southern Nigeria, mentioned the arrests have been an indication that the nation was going to make use of an iron fist in opposition to homosexual unions.

“We’re in Africa, and we’re in Nigeria. We can’t copy the Western world, as a result of we don’t have the identical tradition,” he mentioned at a information convention on Tuesday in entrance of the handfuls who have been arrested.

Similar-sex weddings are uncommon in Nigeria, with many such {couples} opting to carry their ceremonies in international locations the place it’s authorized to take action, Mr. Edafe mentioned in a phone interview. “It’s not widespread, and we don’t even wish to get to that degree,” he mentioned. “That’s the reason we’re taking the motion we’re taking now.”

In a video that the Nigerian police printed on Fb on Tuesday, a kind of charged advised reporters that he was sporting a skirt and crop prime for a vogue present. Requested whether or not he was homosexual, he mentioned that he was not and that the occasion had been a celebration relatively than a marriage ceremony.

In 2020, a case in Lagos by which 47 males had been charged with public shows of affection with members of identical intercourse was dismissed, with the choose citing prosecutors’ failure to seem in court docket and name witnesses.

The most recent arrests occurred after cops raided the Teebilos Lodge in Warri, a metropolis in southern Nigeria.

The police mentioned on X, the social platform previously generally known as Twitter, that on Sunday night time that they had stopped an individual whom they recognized as “a male cross-dresser” who mentioned that he was an actor and that he belonged to “a sure homosexual membership.” He mentioned that he was going to a same-sex wedding ceremony, the police wrote.

In a video that the police printed on the social media platform, a pair — one sporting a white costume with a veil and one in a white go well with — stood beside a swimming pool surrounded by friends and balloons as a grasp of ceremonies launched a performer on a stage.

Mr. Edafe mentioned in a phone interview that the these arrested have been being held and that they could be charged on the finish of an investigation. It was not instantly clear who was legally representing these in custody.

Isa Sanusi, Amnesty Worldwide’s nation director for Nigeria, mentioned that homophobia had been a difficulty within the nation even earlier than the 2014 legislation was handed, however that the laws had turn into a approach to put added strain on L.G.B.T.Q. individuals.

“That legislation emboldened homophobia,” he mentioned. “It’s given individuals the bottom to hold out human rights violations in Nigeria.”

Mr. Sanusa additionally denounced the police’s determination to publish photographs and movies of these arrested on the gathering, a transfer that he mentioned put these accused vulnerable to violence.

“This parading like yesterday,” he mentioned, “is an entire violation of human rights.”

Most of the roughly 60 international locations all over the world that criminalize homosexuality are in Africa, and lately some have handed or vowed to introduce harsher penalties for same-sex relations.

In Uganda, a draconian legislation handed in Might consists of the loss of life penalty for some sorts of gay acts, and life imprisonment for anybody who engages in homosexual intercourse. Two males within the nation have been charged with “aggravated homosexuality” this summer time, a criminal offense punishable by loss of life.

Ismail Alfa Abdulrahim contributed reporting from Maiduguri, Nigeria.

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