Stride Radio

Delta Police arrests ‘about 200’ men after alleged gay wedding

After a screening of the suspects, police officers have paraded 67 of them to the public. The Delta State Police Command has arrested over 200 men for attending what it described as a gay wedding on Monday, August 28, 2023.

The command’s spokesperson, DSP Bright Edafe, said in a statement on Tuesday, August 29, that officers initially confronted the first suspect on Sunday, August 27 for dressing as a woman, despite being a man.

Upon further interrogation after he was detained at a police station, the suspect, who claimed to be an actor, allegedly confessed to belonging to a “gay society.”

The suspect further told interrogators he was on his way to a wedding ceremony taking place at a hotel. Officers raided the facility around 2 am on Monday and arrested “about 200 suspects, the majority of them dressed like females.”

One of the suspects was dressed as a bride and another as a groom, and police officers have acquired a video recording of the alleged wedding ceremony. After a screening of the suspects, the command paraded 67 of them while officers continue investigations.

“We’re bringing this out to the world to note, especially to Nigerians, that we’re in Africa and Nigeria. We cannot copy the Western world.

“We’re in Nigeria, and we’ll follow the culture and rules of the land. We cannot watch and fold our arms, and I can guarantee the suspects will be charged to court,” Edafe said.

Many of the suspects who spoke to journalists denied the allegations by the police and maintained they were only attending an all-white party. Only one of the suspects admitted to being gay “for four years.”

Nigeria’s controversial law back in the spotlight
Edafe said the Monday raid is a direct consequence of Nigeria’s controversial Same-sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) President Goodluck Jonathan signed in 2014.

The law prescribes 14 years imprisonment for anyone who engages in a same-sex marriage contract and 10 years for anyone who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisation, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria.”

The SSMPA has been widely criticised by human rights campaigners and the international community, especially the United States, for causing harm to gay people in Nigeria.

Police officers conducted a similar large-scale raid on an alleged gay party in the Egbeda area of Lagos in 2018. The men said they were attending a birthday party, but police officers claimed they were being initiated into a gay club and eventually charged 47 of them to court.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos struck out the case in 2020 after numerous adjournments he blamed on the “lack of diligent prosecution.”

No one is known to have been convicted under the SSMPA, but the law has empowered law enforcement officers to target homosexual people to sometimes harm and extort.

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