Twelve young men were arrested in Kano for allegedly planning a gay wedding, the Islamic law-enforcement agency, the Hisbah, said on Tuesday.
The suspects, most of them teenagers, were detained on Monday at a popular resort on the outskirts of the city, said the head of the Hisbah, Aminu Daurawa.
Homosexuality is banned under federal law in Nigeria, where last year new legislation was passed outlawing same-s*x marriages and the promotion of civil unions.
In northern states, where Sharia runs parallel to the state and federal justice system, homosexuality is punishable by death, although the sentence is rarely, if ever, enforced.
“We have 12 men in custody, 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 earlier and our men stormed the venue while the wedding was about to start”.
“Many guests escaped during the raid”, he added.
But one of the participants, 18-year-old Faruk Maiduguri, told reporters at the Hisbah offices that he and his friends were only celebrating his birthday.
“It was my birthday party, not a gay wedding”, he said in tears.
Daurawa said the suspects, who came from Kano, the northern cities of Maiduguri, Kaduna and Bauchi, and Ibadan and Osogbo in the southwest, “looked and acted feminine”, which prompted their arrest.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that 10 out of the 12 suspects were released after their parents, who were summoned by the Sharia police, signed an undertaking to keep their children away from such activities.