Disturbing news from far northern Nigeria. Seven youths aged 18 to 25-years-old have been arrested on "suspicion of homosexuality" in Jigawa State, reports The Punch. The arrests were announced on December 3.
The youths could face execution. Twelve Islamic states in northern Nigeria—including Jigawa—have mandated the harsh Sharia law that has sentenced several gays to death. However, the death sentences have reportedly never been enforced and the sentences were commuted.
The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps said ... that one of the suspects divulged information that led to the arrest of the six other suspects.
[NSCDC Commandant] Alhaji Mohammad Gidado described the act of homosexuality as "barbaric, animalistic and nasty." ... The commandant advised parents to monitor the movements and whereabouts of their children to forestall their engaging in homosexuality. "Parents and teachers need to do more in guiding our youths. This kind of behavior from our future generation is bad," Gidado said. He added that the suspects would soon be charged to court.
The announcement comes one week after the legislature of the adjacent Katsina State reportedly approved harsh anti-gay legislation. The bill approved by the Katsina State House of Assembly mandates a 14-year prison sentence for any man or woman convicted of same-sex relations.
Meanwhile: Two teenagers were arrested October 1 "on charges of homosexual activity and released on bail pending trial" in Osun State in the southwest, reports 76 Crimes. The "suspected homosexuals" are aged 18- and 19-years old and both pleaded not guilty.
Sodomy is already outlawed under existing federal law in Africa's most populous nation. Twenty-four of Nigeria's 36 states punish same-sex acts with up to 14 years imprisonment. Twelve Islamic states in northern Nigeria—including Katsina and Jigawa—have introduced Sharia law that mandates the death penalty for same sex relations.
Prosecutions related to same-sex relations were generally rare in Nigeria—but there has been an increase in arrests and prosecutions since the introduction of comprehensive anti-gay legislation in parliament. The most recent bill passed unanimously by Nigeria's House of Representatives in late May 2013 "criminalizes public displays of affection between same-gender partners" and bans pro-LGBT activism. The bill also passed the Senate. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has so far not signed the bill into law.
Since 2007, the National Assembly has introduced several proposed versions of extreme anti-gay legislation. A previous version passed in 2011 by the Senate goes beyond merely banning same-sex marriage—which is already illegal—and would ban same sex relationships, ban same sex couples from living together, ban pro-LGBT websites or groups and prosecute their friends or human rights activists. These proposals have stalled under international pressure.
Also: An Abia State pastor was arrested in August 2013 for allegedly "having unlawful carnal knowledge" of a 23-year-old man, In January 2013, at least three men believed to gay were stripped naked, paraded through the streets and beaten by a mob in a remote Nigerian village. And in September 2012, a Nigerian actor was sentenced to three months in prison after admitting to having sex with another man.
Same-sex acts are currently illegal in at least 38 of 54 African countries. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. South Africa is the only African nation that mandates equal marriage.