Nigerian authorities last month arrested dozens of people in Gombe state who were celebrating homosexual birthdays” and planning to “hold a same-sex marriage.”
Media reports note the country’s paramilitary agency on Oct. 23 announced the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp authorities arrested 59 men and 17 women.
An NSCDC spokesperson said authorities raided the party after it received a tip that “homosexuals and pimps” were attending it.
The spokesperson said 21 of the 59 men who were arrested “confessed to being homosexual.” A statement the local NSCDC released said the party organizer had planned to marry another man.
“We unreservedly condemn these blatantly discriminatory arrests and call for the immediate release of all involved,” said Amnesty International in an Oct. 25 statement.
Nigeria is among the countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized. Homosexuality remains punishable by death in areas of the country that are under Sharia law.
Then-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act that, among other things, punishes those who enter into a same-sex marriage with up to 14 years in prison and bans membership in an LGBTQ advocacy group.
Police in Delta state in November 2015 arrested 21 men who allegedly engaged in same-sex sexual activity. Authorities in the city of Ikorodu in July 2017 arrested 42 men who were attending an HIV awareness event.
Police officers on Aug. 28 stormed a hotel in Ekpan, a town in Delta state, and arrested more than 200 people who were attending a same-sex wedding. Authorities later paraded dozens of those who were arrested in front of journalists at a police station.
Maryland state Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery County) is among the Black LGBTQ lawmakers who protested Nigeria’s anti-LGBTQ crackdown outside the Nigerian Embassy in D.C. on Sept. 12. The Montgomery County Democrat this week described the arrests in Gombe state as “vile.”