A Police Raid, Viral Videos and the Broken Lives of Nigerian Gay Law Suspects

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02/24/2020

The 57 men stumbled out of the back of a dark police truck into the glare of a sunny courtyard and a phalanx of cameras. Some clutched another’s hand, as if for comfort. They lined up on wooden benches in the dirt, almost all of them trying to hide their faces, and not succeeding. Standing behind a bank of microphones, the Lagos state police commissioner, Imohimi Edgal, told the gathered journalists that he personally had ordered the raid that swept up the men after the authorities received a tipoff that young men were being initiated into a “homosexual club.” Edgal declared that homosexuality ran contrary to the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. That law, which drew international condemnation when it came into force in 2014, targets not only same-sex unions but homosexual relations in general with prison terms of up to 14 years.

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