Judge issues warning over gay trial impasse
Publish date: 10 February 2020
Issue Number: 859
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
The trial of 47 Nigerian men charged with homosexuality, punishable by 14 years' imprisonment, has stalled because their accusers failed to produce a witness. The men, who were arrested in a Lagos hotel during a police raid in August 2018, have pleaded not guilty in the case before the High Federal Court (Lagos). A report on the News24 site notes that they were accused of ‘permitting male persons to have carnal knowledge of themselves against the order of nature’. Police have repeatedly failed to produce witnesses to support their case which is being closely watched by Nigeria's LGBT community. The court adjourned the hearing to 3 March with Justice Rilwan Aikawa warning ‘if you do not present a witness next time, I will strike the case out’. A 2014 law banned gay marriages as well as ‘same sex cohabitation’.