Police in Nigeria arrest 57 men for having gay sex

Police in Nigeria have raided a hotel and arrested 57 men on suspicion of having gay sex.

In Nigeria, people convicted of having gay sex can spend up to 14 years in prison – apart from in 12 northern states with Sharia law, where they are stoned to death.

This is the second such police action this month, after six men in the south-eastern state of Abia were arrested in a hotel for the same reason.

The men in Abia also denied being gay (abia state police)

In the latest batch of arrests, the men were reportedly attending a birthday party at the Kelly Ann Hotel and Event Centre in Egbeda, Lagos, when police received a tip-off and stormed the premises around 2am on Sunday (August 26).

Since they were in Lagos State, the men will face a jail term rather than death, if convicted.

Imohimi Edgal, the state’s police commissioner, told Nigerian outlet Premium Times: “On arrival, young men numbering about 80 were met in a hall taking different types of drinks including banned substance like Tramadol [and] Shisha laced with substances suspected to be Marijuana.

Kenyan gay and lesbian organisations demonstrate outside the Nigerian High Commission in Nairobi on February 7, 2014. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 had signed a bill into law against gay marriage and civil partnerships. The Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013 imposes penalties of up to 14 years' imprisonment for anyone found to have entered in to such a union. Anyone who founds or supports gay groups or clubs also runs the risk of a maximum 10-year jail term. The legislation, which effectively reinforces existing laws banning homosexuality in Nigeria, has been widely condemned abroad as draconian and against a raft of human rights conventions. AFP PHOTO/SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Gay sex is punishable by death or 14 years in prison in Nigeria (SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty)

“When the men sighted the police, they took to their heels but the police arrested 57 of them.”

Those arrested have told a different story.

One of them, a 25-year-old, said: “It was a birthday party and majority of us don’t know one another.

“I was invited by my friend Muyiwa for the party, and we were not only guys in the party, [a] few ladies were with us and other ladies were in the hotel rooms getting dressed for the party.”

Soldiers of the 21st Motorized Infantry Brigade patrol in the streets of Buea, South-West Region of Cameroon on April 26, 2018. - A social crisis that began in November 2016 has turned into armed conflict since October 2017. Several small armed groups demand the independence of the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, bordering Nigeria. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty Images)

Those arrested tell a different story to Lagos police (ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty)

He described the scene as the hotel was raided, saying: “The police just barged in and arrested people; I was outside the hall buying a drink when I was arrested.

Advertisement Remove ads


“They also arrested [a] few ladies but they let go of the ladies. The police didn’t allow us know our offence until we reached the police station yesterday.

“At first, the police told us that they found some illegal drugs with us, such as shisha, tramadol and others, but those that owned [these] came out and claimed possession of [them].”

He continued: “They also accused us of being homosexuals. I am not one, I went there to party. They also accused us of being initiated but no initiation material was founded with us or at the venue.”

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 19: Banners in protest at the Anti-Gay Marrage Law recently passed in Nigeria are displayed in the crowd during the 2014 African Nations Championship match between South Africa and Nigeria at Cape Town Stadium on January 19, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The investigation is ongoing (Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Getty)

Another man also said he was at a birthday party at the hotel, while others were seemingly caught up in the chaos.

One said he saw there was a party going on and decided to join in the fun, adding: “I am not gay and I don’t know any of them, it was when we got to the police station that I got to know that it was a birthday party.”

A 23-year-old who was arrested said he was simply staying at the hotel overnight, on the way back from a pageant he’d attended.

“I was at the reception when the police came and they told me to lie down, which I gladly did since I knew I had not committed any crime,” he said. “But I was accused of being a gay.

“All efforts to explain to the police and show them the evidence of my invitation to the pageantry and pictures proved abortive.”

Members of the Nigerian police pursue protesters from the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in Abuja on April 17, 2018.  Nigerian police fired teargas for a second day on April 17 at protesters demanding the release of Shiite leader Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has been in jail without charge since December 2015.  / AFP PHOTO / STEFAN HEUNIS        (Photo credit should read STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigerian police have arrested many on suspicion of gay sex (STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty)

Last year, 42 men were arrested at a hotel in Lagos state and charged with performing “homosexual acts.”

Earlier this year, Nigerian politicians hit out at Prime Minister Theresa May after the British leader promoted LGBT+ rights in the Commonwealth countries that still criminalise homosexuality.

During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) meeting in April, May spoke about the UK’s regret at imposing anti-gay laws in former colonies.

She noted that 36 of the 53 Commonwealth countries continue to criminalise homosexuality, saying: “I deeply regret the fact that such laws were introduced, and the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today.”

Comments (0)

MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.

Loading Comments