Nigeria is a country slow to honor LGBTQ rights. In many cases, even supporting LGBT people can land you in jail, which is what happened last week. Sadly, Nigerian law enforcement arrested 53 men for attending an unofficial same-sex wedding, according to BBC.
The arrests happened last Saturday in the northern state of Kaduna. Much of northern Nigeria is Islamic, while the southern part leans towards a strong Christian influence. Currently, homosexual acts, as well as LGBT events and organizations, are banned in the country and punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In some instances, punishment has even involved public whippings. Activist Olumide Makanjuola says the criminalization of LGBT communities has sanctioned police violence against its people, according to The Advocate.
The lawyers for the accused men in Kaduna said most of them were students and they argued that the event was not a “gay” wedding, but a birthday party. One attorney says the men were illegally detained for 24 hours.
The 53 men are charged with conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and belonging to an unlawful society. They are set to appear in court on May 8.