A spokeswoman for the federal Nigeria Police Force (NPS) recently urged gay people in the country to flee or face prosecution under the Same-Sex Prohibition Act, warning that it will not condone any violation of that law “no matter how small,” several Nigerian news outlets reported on Wednesday.
Dolapo Badmos, identified as the public relations officer of the federal Zone 2 police command that covers the Nigerian states of Lagos Lagos and Ogun, declared in an Instagram post last week:
If you are homosexually inclined, Nigeria is not a place for you. There is a law [Same-Sex Prohibition Act] here that criminalizes homosexual clubs, associations, and organizations with penalties of up to 15 years in jail.
So, if you are a homosexual in nature, leave the country or face prosecution. But before you say, ‘does this matter?’ Kindly note that anything against the law of the land is criminal and all crimes will be punished accordingly no matter how small you think it is.
The law says a person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies or organizations, directly or indirectly makes a public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years. Anyone convicted of entering into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union faces up to 14 years imprisonment. All LGBT candidates in Nigeria should beware.
In a different post responding to criticism on social media for her position, Badmos reportedly called on Nigerians to report homosexual activities.
“Prosecution and conviction of suspects are not based on imagination rather it is based on evidence otherwise it will be treated as hearsay which is not admissible in court,” Badmos proclaimed, according to the Guardian in Nigeria.
“Kindly be informed that if you have any evidence or exhibits that can establish the case against him/her, please don’t hesitate to bring it up for a comprehensive investigation,” she added.
Under former President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria enacted the Same-Sex Prohibition Act into law in 2014.
Besides criminalizing homosexual meetings in public, gay clubs, and associations and organizations linked to the same-sex community with penalties up to 14 years in prison, the law “also makes it illegal for gays to display any public show of affection,” Nigeria’s Pulse revealed.
In the wake of its passage, the law reportedly drew a rebuke from several counties, including the United States and Britain.
Citing Amnesty International, the Associated Press (AP) reported in 2014 that Nigeria is one of 38 countries (70 percent of the continent) with laws criminalizing homosexuality.
“Africans largely regard homosexuality as a deviation from their cultural, traditional and religious inclinations,” Pulse noted.
Despite the law, the LGBTQ community is active in some parts of the country, the Guardian pointed out.
“Some LGBTQ activists argued that laws restricting and stigmatizing them were violations of their human rights to freedom of association,” it added.