In a recent development in northern Nigeria, 76 individuals were apprehended for attending a birthday party for gay people. The country’s paramilitary agency, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), revealed that the event’s organizer had also intended to host a same-sex wedding, a practice deemed illegal in Nigeria.
This incident follows a series of arrests targeting LGBTQ Nigerians, including a police raid at a gay wedding in the southern city of Warri in Delta state, where dozens of people were detained, though they are now out on bail.
Nigeria, like many parts of Africa, maintains a prevailing view that homosexuality is unacceptable. In 2014, an anti-gay law was enacted, despite international condemnation, imposing severe penalties on LGBTQ individuals. Buhari Saad, the NSCDC spokesperson for Gombe state, reported that the agency acted on a tip-off and conducted a raid during a party attended by “homosexuals and pimps” on Saturday night.
The operation resulted in the arrest of 59 men, including 21 who admitted to being homosexual, as well as 17 women. Furthermore, the NSCDC statement disclosed that the organizer of the birthday gathering had plans for a same-sex wedding with another man who remained at large, thwarted by the police intervention.
Nigeria’s anti-gay law entails harsh penalties, including a prison term of up to 14 years for those convicted. It also prohibits gay marriage, same-sex relationships, and involvement in gay rights groups. The latest incident underscores the ongoing challenges faced by LGBTQ individuals in the country as they grapple with discrimination and persecution under this restrictive legal framework.