Nigerian university graduates arrested for simply being gay in heinous Sharia law police raid

Kenyan gay and lesbian organisations demonstrate outside the Nigerian High Commission in Nairobi, one holding a yellow sign that reads: 'Nigeria: LGBTI, We are together'

Recent graduates from the Bayero University Kano, in northern Nigeria, have been arrested for being gay.

Fifteen people were taken into custody during a party by Hisbah, a religious police corps who enforce Sharia law from Islam. 

Sharia law “criminalises same-sex intimacy between both men and women”. 

Deputy commander-general Shehu Tasi’u Is’haq confirmed the arrest of the graduates to Punch Nigeria, saying: “We arrested and transferred the errant students to our correctional centre at our headquarters in Sharada.

“While at our correctional centre, they will be re-oriented and at the close of the day, they will desist from their waywardness and turn a new leaf.”

“Islam is opposed to same-sex partners, which is a taboo. As an institution, our responsibility is to correct youth, who are going astray, reminding them that devout Muslims forbid homosexual acts, which will not be tolerated.”

Nigeria is not safe for gay people.

The same-sex marriage prohibition act has been in place in Nigeria since 2014. Those in same-sex relationships will be sent to prison under this law.

Other laws in Nigeria criminalise acts of “gross indecency” between men. Nigeria has since been found to be the most dangerous place for LGBT+ tourists and the 139th worst place to live as an LGBT+ person

Last year, a spokesperson for the Lagos State Police said on Instagram, “If you are homosexually inclined, Nigeria is not a place for you. Leave the country or face prosecution.”

Previously, PinkNews has reported on numerous cases of discrimination against and arrests of gay people in Nigeria over the years. The most recent was in November 2019: 47 men plead guilty to charges of public displays of same-sex affection in Lagos.

A Nigerian man was also “flogged 14 times in one day, for being gay in Nigeria,” which is a common punishment under Sharia Law for unmarried men who practice sodomy. The punishment for those who are currently or have previously been married is death by stoning. 

98% of Nigerian people believe that society should not accept homosexuality, according to the Pew Research Centre.

The director general of Hisbah said in 2018: “We can’t allow such despicable acts to find roots in our society. Both Islam and Nigerian laws prohibit same-sex relationships.”