However, Nigeria still remains a dangerous place to be LGBTQ.
A survey from The Initiative for Equality Rights has found that homophobic attitudes in Nigeria are decreasing. The survey was last conducted in 2017, and this time it talked to 2,400 residents of the country.
Although numbers were still fairly low, they did show that more Nigerians were becoming accepting of the LGBTQ identity. In 2017, only 17% of people believed that LGBTQ people should have the same rights, this has now increased to to 27%.
The amount of people who would accept an LGBTQ family member has more than doubled from 13% to 30% and the amount of people in favour of the laws banning same-sex relations has fallen from 91% to 74%.
However, despite this rise in accepting attitudes, it appears that the amount of people who know someone LGBTQ has fallen. The amount of people who say they have a gay friend has halved from 14% to 7%. Meanwhile, the amount of people who know someone LGBTQ in the community has more than halved from 39% to 19%.
It is unclear what has caused the growing acceptance, but the Breaking Times theorises it could be due to homophobia being used as a political weapon, and a younger generation becoming more sceptical of the government.
It also points out various websites like The Initiative for Equality Rights, The Equality Hub, Mentally Aware Nigeria and She Writes Women, which all campaign on LGBTQ issues. It’s also thought the use of social media has made it easier for some LGBTQ people in Nigeria to be more open.
However, Nigeria is not an accepting country for the LGBTQ community. The survey above still shows how most Nigerians are hostile toward the LGBTQ community.
Earlier this year, one of the country’s most influential police officers told LGBTQ people to leave Nigeria. During the message, Badmos referenced Nigeria’s 2014 law that criminalised same-sex marriage and public displays of affection between LGBTQ people.
“If you are homosexually inclined, Nigeria is not a place for you. There is a law (Same-Sex Prohibition Act) here that criminalises homosexual clubs, associations and organisations with penalties of up to 15 years in jail,” she said.
“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.”
Badmos continued: “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.”
Although main Nigerian law only criminalises homosexuality, certain areas in the country have adopted the Islamic Sharia law, which punishes homosexuality with death. Nigeria is one of 11 countries where a death penalty is in place for homosexuality.