Police have reportedly raided a hotel in Anambra, Nigeria, where a group of “suspected gays” were having a party, following an anonymous tip-off.
According to a local source who spoke to Nigerian publisher Punch Newspapers: “The gays were holding a party at the facility when trouble ensued, leading to the invitation of policemen from the Ukpo Police Division.
“The suspects attempted fleeing in all directions when the policemen arrived, leading to the destruction of ceilings and other items in the hotel.
“The suspects were taken to the command’s anti-cult office in Ukpo for investigation.”
The number of men arrested has not yet been confirmed.
Nigeria brought in the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act (SSMPA) in 2013, which criminalises “making a public show of a same-sex relationship” as well as being involved in any LGBT+ clubs, organisations or unions.
In recent years, a number of similar parties have been raided by Nigerian police under the SSMPA as police have claimed they were a gay club or organisation.
Penalties for engaging in these prohibited activities can reach up to 14 years imprisonment. Some Nigerian states employ Sharia Law which imposes harsher punishments, however Anambra does not currently enforce Sharia Law.
According to the Human Dignity Trust, in 2018 the Nigerian United Nations representative, Tijjani Muhammad Bande, said: “Nigeria rejects unreservedly same-sex marriage, lesbians, and gays in its population and that Nigeria had as duty to protect family values, religious and cultural values which are the bedrock of society.”
The anti-cult office, where the men were reportedly being investigated, was set up to counter cultism in Nigeria.
Nigerian cultism is believed to originate from Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka who had a confraternity in the 1950s which resisted the affluent middle class. However, they are now known as a “major menace to Nigerian society, contributing to the violent killings of thousands across the country”, according to the Institute of Current World Affairs.
Last week, the Archbishop of Nigeria, Henry Ndukuba, called homosexuality a “virus” and “likened to a yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough”.
by Matilda Davies