Responding to the news that the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) arrested 59 men and 17 women at a gathering in Gombe state, northern Nigeria on Monday, who they accuse of attending a “gay party” and making plans to hold a “gay wedding”, Isa Sanusi, Director Amnesty International Nigeria, said:
“We unreservedly condemn these blatantly discriminatory arrests and call for the immediate release of all involved.
“The Nigerian authorities must stop these humiliating raids and misusing laws to harass and arrest people accused of same-sex activity. It is appalling that the police can arbitrarily bring criminal charges against people based on judgements of how they are dressed or how they have styled their hair.
“No one should be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The Nigeria Police should be prioritizing keeping everyone safe, not stoking more discrimination.”
According to the authorities, those arrested confessed to planning to hold a “gay wedding”. In August, police in Delta state also arrested 70 men over an alleged plan to hold a “gay wedding”. The Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill signed into law on 7 January 2014 criminalizes same-sex relationships and public displays of affection between same-sex couples and restricts the work of organizations defending gay people and their rights.