Nigerian police detained at least 67 guests at a gay wedding at around 2 a.m. on Monday in southern Delta state’s Ekpan. State police spokesman Bright Edafe told reporters that homosexuality “will never be tolerated” in Nigeria.
Initially, 200 guests were arrested at the hotel in Ekpan where the wedding took place, but after investigations, 67 were detained.
“On my way going to the event, police attacked me and took me to the police station,” he 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,” one suspect said, according to ABC.
In Nigeria, the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act carries up to 14 years in jail for gay individuals, and so, unfortunately, arrests of gay people are all too common. Accomplices also face 10 years in prison. Monday’s arrest is one of the country’s largest targeted arrests against homosexuality.
“The amazing part of it was that we saw two suspects, and there is a video recording where they were performing their wedding ceremony. We are in Africa and we are in Nigeria. We cannot copy the Western world because we don’t have the same culture,” Bright Edafe said.
“This is not something that will be allowed in Nigeria,” he added, noting that the suspects will be charged in court at the end of the investigation.
Amnesty International’s Nigeria office condemned the arrests and 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 in Nigeria, told The Associated Press.
Nigeria is one of a growing list of African countries that have anti-LGBTQ laws that criminalize same-sex relationships. Uganda recently signed a new law that carries a death penalty for some “homosexual offenses.”