Updated: March 6, 2021
A high-ranking police officer in Nigeria has warned gay people to leave Africa’s most populous nation or rot in jail.
Why it matters: Many people are praising the policewoman for saying what many describe in Nigeria as “an abomination against God” in a country which is deeply religious, although humongous corruption and official theft are hurting millions of Nigerians far greater than gays and lesbians holding hands.
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Dolapo Badmos, a Chief Superintendent and spokeswoman for the Lagos State Police Command, made the comments on her personal Instagram account with over 125,000 followers.
“If you’re homosexually inclined, Nigeria is not a place for you,” Badmos wrote last week.
“There is a law here that criminalizes homosexual clubs, associations, and organizations with penalties of up to 14yeats (sic) in jail,” she wrote, referring to the Same-sex Prohibition Act signed into law by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
“So if you are homosexual in nature, leave the country or face prosecution,” Badmos added.
The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) is controversial in the West but normal in Nigeria, where most people are against same-sex relationships.
Those found guilty of being in a same-sex relationship face up to 14 years in jail.
The law was widely condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch at the time, as well as the then United States Secretary of State, John Kerry.
Former President Jonathan’s supporters had repeatedly claimed without evidence that the United States plotted his defeat in 2015 because of the same sex law, which was widely approved by the Nigerian National Assembly.
Badmos’ comments are the latest reminder of the challenges facing members of the LGBT community in Nigeria.
A survey of 2,000 individuals conducted by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs), a Nigeria-based human rights organization, showed that about 90% of Nigerians support the continued enforcement of the SSMPA.