Hundreds of young party-goers who had been arrested and beaten at a hotel in the Nigerian City of Asaba early last month are now reported to be facing homosexuality-related charges in court.
The large group of individuals who were reportedly celebrating a friends birthday became victims of the local police force, who raided their hotel room at the Delta Park Hotel.
Accused of being gays and lesbians, the young individuals were arrested, with many also reported to have been beaten by officers during the raid.
According to the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa, who have condemned the arrests of the young people, demands had been made that the families of the arrested persons had to pay “huge sums of money” to bail their relatives.
The network also called for the Nigerian government to ensure that it implements laws and policies that would respect all citizens.
“The unlawful arrests and detention of young Nigerians who have not committed any crime run contrary to international, regional and national laws signed and ratified by the country and negate its principles of citizens’ protection,” said the organisation.
These recent arrests follow the Nigerian state of Bemeu, passing new anti-LGBT legislation which would further criminalise the LGBTI community. Titled the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Law the new legislation is similar to the country’s already existing national Same Sex Prohibition Act (SSPA), which was enacted in 2014.
Essentially prohibiting any marriage or civil union contracts between same-sex couples, gay clubs, organisations, and societies are now also prohibited from being established, and expressions of same-sex affection in public are outlawed as a result of the new law.
Currently, it is still unknown if the new law will also impose the same 10 to 14-year imprisonment penalties or when it will start to be enforced.