200 People Arrested Following Gay Wedding In Nigeria

Photo: Getty Images

Police in Nigeria said they arrested 200 people in connection to a gay wedding on Monday (August 28).

According to state police spokesman Bright Edafe, suspects were arrested after officers stormed a hotel in southern Delta state's Ekpan town where a gay marriage was being held, per the Associated Press. After initial investigations, at least 67 people were detained out of the 200 who were arrested.

Under the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which was enacted in 2013, gay people can face up to 14 years in prison in Nigeria. Accomplices can be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Edafe said homosexuality "will never be tolerated."

“The amazing part of it was that we saw two suspects, and there is a video recording where they were performing their wedding ceremony,” he said. “We are in Africa and we are in Nigeria. We cannot copy the Western world because we don’t have the same culture.”

The police spokesman said officers “cannot fold their hands” and watch gay people openly express their sexuality in Nigeria.

“This is not something that will be allowed in Nigeria,” Edafe said.

In a video, one of the suspects said they weren't attending the wedding and were at the hotel for another engagement. Another individual who was arrested said they didn't identify as gay and were headed to a fashion show.

“On my way going to the event, police attacked me and took me to the police station,” the suspect said. “They said I have committed an offense while dressed like this but I don’t know if cross-dressing is against the constitution of the land.”

Nigerian police have previously been accused of using the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act to carry out mass arrests of people of all sexual orientations.

Amnesty International Nigeria called for “an immediate end to this witch-hunt.”

“In a society where corruption is rampant, this (same-sex) law banning same-sex relationships is increasingly being used for harassment, extortion and blackmail of people,” Isa Sanusi, the organization’s director, said in a statement.

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