It occurred in a Muslim-majority state, where Islamic law governs and homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty.
A total of 76 people accused of planning a gay wedding were arrested in the state of Gombe, in the northeast of Nigeria. The arrests occurred last Saturday, although they had not emerged until this week.
En Nigeria, same-sex marriage is illegal. In 2014, the country passed legislation not only outlawing same-sex marriages but also promoting civil unions. GombeFurthermore, it is part of the northern states, with a Muslim majority, where the Sharia (Islamic law) governs in parallel to federal and state legislation.
Buhari Saad, state spokesperson for Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), a government paramilitary organization, said the suspects were arrested at a birthday party hosted by a couple who were getting married.
«Yes, our men arrested 76 suspected homosexuals at a birthday party at Duwa Plaza along Bauchi-Gombe Highway on Saturday«said Saad. The spokesperson explained that "The party was organized by one of them, who was going to marry his lover. Of those arrested, 59 are men and 17 women present at the party were also arrested.«.
Of the total number of people detained in Nigeria, 17 are women
Twenty-one detainees confessed to being homosexual, although an unknown number managed to escape. «Relationships between people of the same sex are against the law and our culture. We will catch the suspects who fled and all of them will be prosecuted in court"He added Saad.
Last September, a court of Nigeria released on bail 69 people accused of being homosexual and participating in an alleged gay wedding in the south of the country, after remaining in police custody since August 27.
Homosexuality is persecuted in Nigeria and it is a crime that carries penalties of up to fourteen years in prison.
In some areas of the north of the country, where the sharia (Islamic law), may be worth death by stoning, although in practice those convicted usually end up being punished with flogging.
Of those close to seventy countries that criminalize relationships between people of the same sex in the world, more than thirty are in Africa, where the majority of laws of this type are inherited from the colonial period and have been toughened with other later regulations.