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If convicted - 14 years in prison

Nigeria police arrest 57 men for having gay sex

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Police in Nigeria rectly raided a hotel and arrested 57 men on suspicion of having gay sex reports Josh Jackman for Pink News.

In Nigeria, people convicted of having gay sex can spend up to 14 years in prison – apart from in 12 northern states with Sharia law, where they are stoned to death.

This is the second such police action this month, after six men in the south-eastern state of Abia were arrested in a hotel for the same reason.

In the latest batch of arrests, the men were reportedly attending a birthday party at the Kelly Ann Hotel and Event Centre in Egbeda, Lagos, when police received a tip-off and stormed the premises around 2am on Sunday (August 26).

Imohimi Edgal, the state’s police commissioner, told Nigerian outlet Premium Times: “On arrival, young men numbering about 80 were met in a hall taking different types of drinks including banned substance like Tramadol [and] Shisha laced with substances suspected to be Marijuana.

“When the men sighted the police, they took to their heels but the police arrested 57 of them.”

Those arrested have told a different story.

One of them, a 25-year-old, said: “It was a birthday party and majority of us don’t know one another.

“I was invited by my friend Muyiwa for the party, and we were not only guys in the party, [a] few ladies were with us and other ladies were in the hotel rooms getting dressed for the party.”

He described the scene as the hotel was raided, saying: “The police just barged in and arrested people; I was outside the hall buying a drink when I was arrested.

“They also arrested [a] few ladies but they let go of the ladies. The police didn’t allow us know our offence until we reached the police station yesterday.

“At first, the police told us that they found some illegal drugs with us, such as shisha, tramadol and others, but those that owned [these] came out and claimed possession of [them].”

He continued: “They also accused us of being homosexuals. I am not one, I went there to party. They also accused us of being initiated but no initiation material was founded with us or at the venue.”

Another man also said he was at a birthday party at the hotel, while others were seemingly caught up in the chaos.

One said he saw there was a party going on and decided to join in the fun, adding: “I am not gay and I don’t know any of them, it was when we got to the police station that I got to know that it was a birthday party.”

A 23-year-old who was arrested said he was simply staying at the hotel overnight, on the way back from a pageant he’d attended.

“I was at the reception when the police came and they told me to lie down, which I gladly did since I knew I had not committed any crime,” he said. “But I was accused of being a gay.

“All efforts to explain to the police and show them the evidence of my invitation to the pageantry and pictures proved abortive.”

Last year, 42 men were arrested at a hotel in Lagos state and charged with performing “homosexual acts.”

Earlier this year, Nigerian politicians hit out at Prime Minister Theresa May after the British leader promoted LGBT+ rights in the Commonwealth countries that still criminalise homosexuality.

During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) meeting in April, May spoke about the UK’s regret at imposing anti-gay laws in former colonies.

She noted that 36 of the 53 Commonwealth countries continue to criminalise homosexuality, saying: “I deeply regret the fact that such laws were introduced, and the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today.”