The police in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, has interrupted a gay marriage ceremony and whisked away the marriage partners alongside other suspects.
The marriage was taking place at a popular hotel in Jiwa Community of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) when the police, acting on a tip-off, struck, a report in today’s edition of Leadership Weekend said.
It identified the venue of the gay wedding as King’s Land Hotel and Saturday, February 6, 2016 as the day of the event. According to the report, “the stage was already set with the hall decorated awaiting the commencement of the ceremony. At about 5:30 p.m. many invited guests were already seated for the occasion, with invited guests, including their sponsors, the chairman of the occasion and other guests in their hundreds awaiting the commencement of the ceremony.
“However, just as the celebrants were emerging from the car that conveyed them to the venue and were about taking their seats at the high table, men of Nigeria Police Force drafted from the Gwagwa Police Station swooped down on them and promptly arrested them. The suspects, who live in Jiwa Community, are said to be indigenes of Kaduna State. Eyewitnesses told our reporter that many other persons, including their sponsors, chairman of the occasion and the owner of the hotel were equally arrested during the raid.”
Leadership Weekend said it gathered that men of the Nigeria Police Force, Gwagwa Division (AMAC), had earlier gotten information about the marriage that was to take place in the area, and had sent a team of plain-clothed policemen to keep surveillance of the area. It gave the names of the two men as “Abdul Lawal, who is supposed to be the husband, while Umar Tahir posed as the wife,” identifying the sponsors of the botched wedding as Abubakar Tahir and Mohammed Sani.
The paper said the story was confirmed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) FCT Command, ASP Anjuguri Manza, quoting him as saying: “We got information earlier in the day that the two men were organising a gay marriage ceremony in Jiwa community. However, our men had to mobilise and get the suspects arrested. At the moment the two suspects, their sponsors, including the owner of the hotel where the ceremony took place, have been arrested, detained while more investigations are being conducted. We will charge the suspects to the high court as soon as the appropriate investigations have been concluded on the matter.”
ASP Manza was further quoted as warning that the FCT Police Command would continue to arrest and charge to court, perpetrators of such illegal acts in any parts of the territory where it occurs.
Gay and lesbian relations are illegal in Nigeria and could attract upwards of 14 years in jail, while those who administer, witness, abet or aid the solemnisation of a same sex marriage are could bag a 10-year jail term. Also, any person who operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations directly or indirectly could be sentenced to 10-year imprisonment.