The legislature of Katsina State in far northern Nigeria has reportedly approved harsh anti-gay legislation. The legislation approved on Tuesday by the Katsina State House of Assembly mandates a 14-year prison sentence for any man or woman convicted of same-sex relations, reports the Daily Post, citing the News Agency of Nigeria.
The same state law would also apply to anyone convicted of the "same-sex sexual harassment" of students, job applicants, employees, renters and others.
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 State—have introduced the draconian Sharia law that has sentenced several gays to death. However, the death sentences have reportedly never been enforced and the sentences were commuted.
Prosecutions related to same-sex relations have generally been rare in recent years—but there has been an increase in arrests and prosecutions since the introduction of comprehensive anti-gay legislation in parliament. The 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 has NOT been passed by both houses of parliament.
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.
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. The bill has since stalled under international pressure.
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.
Some Background ...
NIGERIA: REPORT: Police Arrest "Gay Pastor"
NIGERIA: 3 Gay Men Stripped, Beaten by Mob
NIGERIA: Criticism After Actor Sentenced
Nigerian Actor Sentenced for "Unnatural Offences"
"Daily Sun" Warns "Homosexuals in Trouble"
NIGERIA: Activists Harassed During Testimony
Nigeria Advances Extreme Anti-Gay Bill
NIGERIA: Hearings Begin on Extreme Legislation
Nigerian Village Vows to "Stone Any Homosexual"
EU Considers Suspending Aid to Nigeria
Nigerian Legislators Vote to Ban Gay Marriages
EU: Level of Homophobia in Nigeria "Unacceptable"
Nigerian Mob Attacks Gay Activist
Nigerian Lynch Mob Storms Jail
Nigeria: 18 Gays Face Death Penalty
Nigerian Lesbian In Hiding After Reported Wedding
Nigeria's Homophobia Threatens Bid for Games
Nigeria One Step Closer to Outlawing Gays