In northern Nigeria, the paramilitary agency, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), disclosed that 76 individuals were arrested for participating in a birthday party for gay people, with reports that the organiser had also intended to conduct a same-sex wedding, an act deemed illegal in the country.
This incident represents the latest in a series of arrests targeting LGBTQ Nigerians. In August, police raided a gay wedding in the southern city of Warri in Delta State, detaining dozens of individuals who were later released on bail.
Homosexuality in Nigeria, as in much of Africa, is widely regarded as unacceptable, and a 2014 anti-gay law went into effect despite facing international condemnation.
Buhari Saad, NSCDC spokesperson for the predominantly Muslim Gombe state, explained that acting on a tip-off, the agency conducted a raid on Saturday night at a gathering attended by “homosexuals and pimps.”
He revealed that 59 men had been arrested, including 21 who confessed to being homosexual, along with 17 women.
The Gombe NSCDC, in a statement, mentioned that the individual responsible for organizing the birthday party had also been planning a same-sex wedding with another man, who remained at large until the police intervened.
The anti-gay law in Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, stipulates a prison sentence of up to 14 years for those found guilty and prohibits gay marriage, same-sex relationships, and membership in gay rights organisations.
According to Saad, the case was slated to be heard in the Gombe State High Court on Tuesday.