More than 50 people were arrested for “conspiring” to celebrate a same-sex marriage in Nigeria.
According to IB Times, Nigerian police in the northern city of Zaria have arrested 53 young men, most of them students, for attending a party at a motel organised for two men who got married last week.
Same-sex marriage is illegal in conservative Nigeria, with those breaking the law facing up to 14 years in prison, although some couples choose to perform symbolic ceremonies despite the risk of arrest.
The men were charged with “conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and belonging to a gang of unlawful society”.
Prosecutor Manner Nasir told a magistrates’ court on Wednesday: “Information reached the police that these group of persons conspired to celebrate a gay marriage at Zaria Motel.”
All 53 men pleaded not guilty to the charges, and were released on bail. Their next hearing has been set for 8 May.
In 2014, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan introduced the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which outlawed LGBT+ organisations, gay clubs, and public displays of affection between same-sex couples.
Goodluck last year appeared to have a change of heart, however, when he called for his country to reconsider the extreme punishments ordered by the law, explaining: “When it comes to equality, we must all have the same rights.”