Nigeria security personnel have arrested more than 70 young people after accusing them of organizing a gay wedding in northeastern Gombe State, a security spokesman said on Monday, in the latest raid on the LGBTQ community.
Personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), an official paramilitary outfit, raided a relaxation spot in Gombe, the state capital, on Saturday and rounded up suspects they accused of having a “gay party” and planned the wedding of two male lovers, said Buhari Saad, NSCDC spokesman in Gombe.
Saad said that “we apprehended 76 suspected homosexuals… while holding a birthday party organized by one of them who was to wed his male bride at the event.”.
Same-sex marriage is illegal in Nigeria under a 2014 law, and Gombe is also one of the majority-Muslim northern states where Islamic Sharia law runs parallel to the federal and state justice systems.
The suspects included 59 men and 17 women, with 21 of the men “wilfully confessing to being gay”, he said.
Lawyers for those arrested could not immediately be contacted for comment or confirmation.
The would-be groom was arrested while the bride-to-be fled along with other guests, the official said. However, in 2014, Nigeria passed new legislation outlawing same-sex marriages and the promotion of civil unions.
Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act carries penalties of up to 14 years in jail for anyone confirmed to be in a gay union.
In conclusion, homosexuality is punishable by death under Sharia in northern Nigeria, although that sentence has never been enforced.
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