Nigeria

At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: illegal
  • Legal gender recognition: not possible
  • Registration of LGBTIQ organizations: not possible
  • Actions related to SOGI at UN: opposed IE SOGI in 2016 and 2019
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    Overview

    Over the last decade the state of LGBTIQ human rights in Nigeria has deteriorated. Same-sex relations are illegal throughout the country and twelve northern regions have adopted a form of Sharia Law which makes same-sex relations punishable by death, and criminalizes gender expression which does not correspond with gender norms associated with the sex assigned at birth. In 2014 “The Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill” was signed into law. The bill criminalizes same-sex marriage, displays of affection between people of the same sex, and imposes a 10-year prison sentence on anyone who “registers, operates, or participates in gay clubs, societies, and organizations.” It also prescribes a penalty for people who know, or “abet” same-sex relationships, thus criminalizing the friends and families of LGBTIQ people. In the wake of this law, LGBTIQ Nigerians have been subjected to arbitrary arrests, targeting, and extortion by police and government officials. Harassment and violence at the hands of private individuals is also high.

    Government officials regularly make public comments denigrating LGBTIQ individuals, which contributes to the pervasively anti-LGBTIQ sentiment in Nigeria. Representatives of Nigeria at the UN were among the most vocal opponents to the establishment of the mandate of Independent Expert on SOGI. Speaking on behalf of the Organizations of Islamic Cooperation Nigeria asserted that SOGI issues are a Western concern and would constitute an imposition on a large number of states.