Terrifying police raid ends with five Nigerian men arrested for suspected homosexuality

A young man holds a sign remembering the murders of LGBT+ people in Nigeria

Sharia police in Kano state, Nigeria, have arrested five men for suspected homosexuality in a shocking raid.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the “special raid” was carried out after residents in the local area reported the men.

The Commander General of the Board, Dr Harun Ibn-Sina, said in a statement that the “suspects” were all over 20 years of age, were arrested on Sunday (11 July) and would be charged in court.

Homosexuality is already illegal in all of Nigeria, and punishable with up to 14 years in prison.

But 12 of the country’s states, including Kano, have adopted various forms of Sharia law which criminalising “sodomy”, defined as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man or woman”. Sharia law is implemented on top of the country’s secular laws.

Under Sharia law in Kano, if a person is unmarried, they can be punished “with caning of one hundred lashes… and shall also be liable to imprisonment for the term of one year”.

If married, they can be stoned to death.

Last year, Sharia police in the area arrested 15 recent graduates from the Bayero University Kano for being gay, and said that their punishment would “re-orient” them.

At the time, deputy commander-general Shehu Tasi’u Is’haq confirmed the arrests to Punch Nigeria, and said: “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.”

Kano is one of only two states in Nigeria where lesbianism is also punishable with death by stoning.

In 2018, a lesbian couple and nine other women were arrested for planning the pair’s wedding. The local directer general said that authorities had “stormed the venue”, and insisted: “We can’t allow such despicable acts to find roots in our society.”