In a recent development in Nigeria, a court in the southern oil-producing Delta state has granted bail to 69 individuals who were apprehended last month in connection with an alleged same-sex wedding. This event underscores the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in Nigeria, where homosexuality is considered immoral on cultural and religious grounds, and where an anti-gay law was implemented in 2014, despite international condemnation.
The suspects, who were not present in court during the bail hearing, were required to post 500,000 naira ($645) each to secure their release. Furthermore, they are obliged to sign a register at the court in Warri town on a monthly basis until their next hearing. According to their lawyer, Ochuko Ohimor, the suspects must also provide sureties whose particulars will be submitted to the court.
State prosecutors had initially opposed the bail, but the court ruled in favor of granting it, reasoning that the suspects were not facing a capital offense. At this time, state prosecutors have not made any public comments regarding the court’s decision.
Nigeria’s anti-gay law, which was enacted in Africa’s most populous nation in 2014, carries severe penalties for those convicted, including prison terms of up to 14 years. It also prohibits same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships, and membership in LGBTQ rights groups. This case serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in Nigeria and the need for continued advocacy for their rights and freedoms.
The LGBTQ community in Nigeria remains resilient despite the legal and societal challenges they encounter. Advocates both within and outside the country continue to work toward greater acceptance and protection of LGBTQ rights in this complex and diverse nation.