Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

53 persons arrested at a gay wedding in Zaria

53 persons arrested at a gay wedding in Zaria

The Police in Zaria yesterday arraigned 53 persons before a Magistrate Court sitting at Chediya Road for organising a same-sex marriage in a hotel in the ancient city.

The accused, arrested last week, have denied the allegations, with their lawyers saying they were illegally detained, the BBC reported.

Same-sex marriage is illegal in conservative Nigeria, with those breaking the law facing up to 14 years in prison, although some couples choose to perform symbolic ceremonies despite the risk of arrest. The case has been adjourned until May 8.

"This incident is a reflection of the absurdity of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act".

Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan passed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act that criminalizes not only same-sex marriages, but also the registration of "gay clubs, societies and organizations" and also bans the public show of affection between same-sex couples. "We know that people can be blackmailed for it and unfortunately it's now the state that is using it to blackmail people", says Alimi.

According to Nasir, "on April 15, at about 9p.m., a team of policemen, led by DSP Muhammad Lawal-Mashi, arrested and brought to the police station 53 persons".

"The Nigerian [anti-LGBT] law is much more far reaching than just same-sex marriage, it really is a way to crack down on anyone advocating for human rights of LGBT people".

Nigeria has an influential Christian evangelical movement in the south and strong support for Islamic law in the north, both of which oppose homosexuality.

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