Nigeria: “Homosexual birthday party” mass arrests condemned


In a new crackdown, police in Nigeria have arrested 76 individuals in a raid on what they described as a “homosexual birthday party” where a same-sex wedding was alleged to be taking place.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Gombe State paraded the 59 men and 17 women detained during the operation in front of the press. Video footage shows the individuals attempting to shield their identities from the cameras.

According to NSCDC spokesperson Buhari Saad, 21 of the 59 men had “confessed” to being homosexual. He stated that the NSCDC had received a tip-off that they were “holding a homosexual birthday” on Saturday “and in that birthday party there was the intention of holding a same-sex marriage.”

One of the guests countered this claim in an interview with AIT News, stating “truly, truly there was no wedding, only birthday.”

Amnesty International’s Condemnation

Amnesty International issued a statement strongly condemning these arrests, demanding the immediate release of all those detained and an end to what they termed “a witch hunt” that infringes upon a range of human rights.

This incident follows the arrest of dozens of people in Delta state in August, where authorities similarly alleged a same-sex marriage ceremony.

“The Nigerian authorities must stop these arbitrary and humiliating raids — and stop misusing laws to harass and arrest people accused of same-sex activity. It is appalling that the mere act of dressing style, make up, hair or sitting in a pair can assume criminal proportions,” said Amnesty.

The organisation underscored that no one should be targeted or arrested based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. It called on Nigerian law enforcement agencies to prioritise the safety of all citizens rather than fueling discrimination.

Nigeria’s Harsh Anti-LGBTIQ+ Laws

Nigeria enforces some of the world’s most severe anti-LGBTIQ+ laws. These laws, rooted in colonial-era legislation, stipulate a 14-year prison sentence for anyone found guilty of engaging in homosexual acts.

Additionally, the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, passed into law in 2014, further criminalizes same-sex marriages and relationships, carrying potential penalties of up to 14 years in prison. The law also mandates a 10-year jail term for public displays of same-sex affection and for individuals involved with or supporting LGBTIQ+ groups.

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