Police in Nigeria say they arrested 57 men over the weekend on suspicion of being gay as displays of same-sex affection are banned in the West African country.The police raided a hotel in the main commercial city of Lagos where dozens of people – mostly men were attending a party.
Some fled during the mass arrests in the early hours of Sunday morning, but officers rounded up 57 people who they say are homosexual.
Chike Godwin Oti, police spokesman in Lagos state, told the BBC that investigations were continuing and the suspects would be charged.
Homosexual acts are punishable by up to 14 years in jail in Nigeria – such relationships were first outlawed under colonial rule in 1901.
In 2017, the Lagos State government arraigned 28 adults and 12 minors before a Lagos Magistrate Court for allegedly engaging in homosexuality contrary to the laws of the land.
The minors were arraigned before an Ebute-Metta Magistrate Court, while the adults were arraigned before a Yaba Magistrate Court. The defendants, who are all males, were arraigned separately on a one-count charge.
Laws were tightened in 2014 when gay marriage and displays of same sex affection were also banned.
Since then the authorities have cracked down on people suspected of homosexuality. However, arrests are infrequent as homosexual people live in hiding.