THE Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has said it is investigating a viral video in which some people identified themselves as members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ).
The Force’s public relations officer (FPRO), Muyiwa Adejobi, disclosed this via his official X handle on Wednesday, January 24.
“They are criminal and punishable under the law. We are on this clip to take necessary action according to the provisions of the law in Nigeria. These are unnatural offences and are totally condemned,” he said of the video.
In the video, eight persons who took part in a trending TikTok challenge identified as members of the LGBTQ community.
The video generated a lot of reaction from social media users who had various views on the legality of their actions.
While many people condemned the video, describing it as a contravention of the Same-Sex Marriage and Prohibition Act (SSMPA), others argued that their actions were not illegal.
Calling the attention of the FPRO to the video, an X user, King Yusuf, queried the effectiveness of the SSMPA.
Another social media user, Chinonso, argued that the Act only criminalises same-sex marriage, not identification as a member of the community.
“I don’t see any crime here! What the law criminalises is same-sex marriage, not someone calling themselves anything!” Chinonso posted.
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan passed the SSMPA bill into law in 2014.
The Act proposed a 14-year jail term for persons who engage in same-sex marriage or civil union. It also punishes public shows of amorous relationships between people of the same sex, membership of gay rights associations or clubs and aiding or solemnising gay unions with ten years’ imprisonment.
Following the signing of the bill, the civil society organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) recorded a spike in abuse of members of the Nigerian LGBTQ community.
In a report published on October 20, 2016, HRW disclosed that the law led to an increase in extortion and violence against members of the community while restricting their access to essential services.