Nigeria: 12 arrested over ‘gay wedding’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Twelve men have been arrested in the north Nigerian city of Kano for allegedly planning a “gay wedding”.

Aminu Daurawa, the head of the Islamic law-enforcement agency, Hisbah, said the individuals, many of them described as teenagers, were detained on Monday at a popular resort north of Kano.

“We have 12 men in custody, including the bride. We arrested them at the venue of a planned gay wedding,” Mr Daurawa told AFP.

“We got information of the wedding four days earlier and our men stormed the venue while the wedding was about to start.”

Many guests escaped during the raid, he added.

But one of the individuals, 18-year-old Faruk Maiduguri, told reporters at the Hisbah offices that he and his friends were only celebrating his birthday.

“It was my birthday party, not a gay wedding,” he said in tears.

Mr Daurawa said the men looked and acted “feminine”, which prompted their arrest.

It was not clear whether they would be charged but their families had been summoned, he added.

Predominantly Muslim states in northern Nigeria introduced Sharia law, a legal system based on Islamic theory and philosophy of justice, in 2000.

It sanctions severe physical penalties for violating its code.

Nigeria strengthened laws against same-sex sexual activity at the start of 2014 by banning same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection.

Punishments can include jail terms of up to 14 years.

President Goodluck Jonathan has refused to repeal the legislation.