Nigerian Police Raid Hotel, Arresting 42 Men For Suspicion Of Engaging In 'Homosexual Acts'
The men say that they were at the hotel volunteering at an HIV awareness event.
The fight for LGBTQ rights has been a rollercoaster of a struggle within the United States alone, and it is a fight that knows no borders.
This past weekend, police swarmed a hotel to arrest at least 42 Nigerian men on the suspicion that they were engaging in “homosexual acts,” local Nigerian newspaper Punch reported.
Activists present for the raid say that no "homosexual acts" were taking place, but rather that the Lagos hotel was being used to host an event promoting HIV awareness, and that activists whose mission is to educate their fellow Nigerians about testing and treatment were on hand.
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"These men were trying to save their lives and make their country better by preventing the spread of HIV," LGBTQ activist and Bisi Alimi Foundation director, Bisi Alimi told Reuters.
A country with a strong evangelical Christian and conservative Muslim population, Nigeria made all LGBTQ relationships illegal in 2014.
That year, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan signed bill that read: "persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offense and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison."
The bill further stipulates that "any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offense and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison."
The bill is an extension of an older law that outlawed of gay relationships, which went into effect in 1901.
Lagos police and state government officials were not immediately available for comment., and the men remain in prison, awaiting a court date.