Yakubu Salisu
For allegedly planning a gay wedding, 12 young men in Kano are now in the net of the Islamic law-enforcement agency, the Hisbah.
The suspects, mostly teen?agers, were detained on Mon?day at a popular resort on the outskirts of the city, the head of the Hisbah, Aminu Dau?rawa, said.
Homosexuality is banned in Nigeria, where last year new legislation was passed outlawing same-sex mar?riages.
In the northern states, where Sharia runs parallel to the state and federal jus?tice system, homosexuality is punishable by death, al?though the sentence is rarely enforced.
?We have 12 men in cus?tody, including the bride. We arrested them at the venue of a planned gay wedding,? Daurawa told AFP.
?We got information of the wedding four days ear?lier and our men stormed the venue while the wed?ding was about to start,? he added.
Many guests escaped dur?ing the raid, he added.
But one of the partici?pants, 18-year-old Faruk Mai?duguri, told reporters at the Hisbah office that he and his friends were only celebrat?ing his birthday.
?It was my birthday party, not a gay wedding,? he said in tears.
Daurawa said the sus?pects, who came from Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Bauchi, Ibadan and Osogbo, ?looked and acted feminine?, which prompted their arrest.
It was not clear whether they would be charged to court, but their families had been summoned, he added.
In January last year, over a dozen men suspected of or?ganising a gay wedding were arrested and charged in Bau?chi by the Sharia agency.
Some of them were dis?charged while others were released on bail.
Nigeria?s Same Sex Mar?riage (Prohibition) Act car?ries penalties of up to 14 years in jail for anyone con?firmed to be in a gay union.
The government said the legislation reflected public opinion.
This is despite the protes?tations of rights activists in the United Nations and West?ern countries, including the United States.

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