100 young people arrested in Nigeria facing homosexuality-related charges


Over a 100 party-goers who were arrested and beaten at a hotel in Asaba, Nigeria, early last month are reported to be facing homosexuality-related charges in court.

The group saw the police raid their hotel room, at the Delta Park Hotel, apparently while celebrating a birthday party.

The young individuals were arrested and accused of being gays and lesbians. Some of those arrested were allegedly beaten up by officers. Hotel staff and management were also arrested during the raid.

In a statement released last week by the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa on 76Crimes, the regional network of human right activists and faith-based individuals and activists provided an update on the case.

It said that the families of the arrested persons had to pay “huge sums of money” to bail out their relatives. The network revealed that it had assisted with paying for the release of some of the individuals.

The group condemned the arrests of the young people and called for the Nigerian government to ensure that it implements laws and policies that would respect all citizens.

“The unlawful arrests and detention of young Nigerians who have not committed any crime run contrary to international, regional and national laws signed and ratified by the country and negate its principles of citizens’ protection,” said the organisation.

These arrests come after the Nigerian state of Bemeu, passed an anti-gay bill which would further criminalise LGBTQ people. The bill is called the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Law and is similar to the country’s already existing national Same Sex Prohibition Act (SSPA), which was enacted in 2014.

This bill prohibits any marriage or civil union contracts between same-sex couples from being solemnised in religious institutions in the state. Gay clubs, organisations and societies will be prohibited from being established and registered under the bill and expressions of same-sex affection in public are banned.

It is still unknown when the state’s bill will come into effect. According to the country’s SSPA, anyone who has been convicted of engaging in homosexual acts could face imprisonment of up to 14 years.

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