Nigeria: Hunting down gays

President Muhammadu Buhari has stood firm in support of anti-gay laws, despite pressure for its repeal, particularly from the United States. Under his administration, gay people will be arrested and prosecuted based on the law.

Incidents like the arrest of Lawal and Tahir and their guests in a supposed marriage ceremony are rare, but not unprecedented, particularly in northern Nigeria. Similar arrests have taken place in Bauchi and Kano, where witnesses say suspects were often tortured in detention and forced to give names of other gay people they know to the police.

In recent times, a number of human-rights activists have accused the police of arresting and detaining perceived homosexuals without cause, except for the purpose of extorting money from detainees to allow them to get out of jail.

Not long after the anti-gay law was passed, the UN agency fighting AIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria expressed “deep concern that access to HIV services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will be severely affected” in the country, which has an estimated 3.4 million people living with the HIV virus. About half of that number are women, but unprotected intercourse among men puts them at especially high risk. 

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