There’s been another mass arrest of more than 40 individuals on charges of homosexuality in Nigeria.
According to Sunday Punch, 42 suspects were arrested at the Vincent Hotel in the state of Lagos on Saturday.
The newspaper reported that the men were “caught in the act” and that the hotel had been shut down.
A local said that following “reports that the hotel harbours homosexuals” the police raided the establishment at around 3.30pm.
“It is true,” confirmed Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole. “About 42 suspected homosexuals were arrested and the hotel has been condoned off while investigation continues. They are in custody of the Lagos State Task Force and will be charged to court soon.”
In April, police arrested 54 people on charges of attending a party allegedly celebrating a same-sex marriage in a raid on a motel in the city of Zaria, in the northern state of Kaduna.
They were charged with conspiracy, unlawful assembly and belonging to a gang of unlawful society.
In June, Nigerian LGBT writer Chibụìhè Obi was kidnapped and held to ransom for writing an anti-homophobia essay. He was eventually released unharmed after his abduction went viral on social media.
Gay sex is illegal in Nigeria, with penalties including 14 years in prison. Twelve northern states operate under Islamic Sharia law that allows homosexuality to be punished with death by stoning.
The Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, enacted in 2014, outlaws gay marriage and any kind of same-sex relationship with 14 years’ imprisonment. The law also punishes establishing, supporting and participating in gay organisations and clubs as well as public displays of same-sex affection with 10 years in prison.
Human Rights Watch has reported that the law has led to an increase in extortion and violence against LGBT people and has also imposed restrictions on nongovernmental organisations providing essential services to LGBT people in Nigeria.