The Nigerian Police Officer Informs Gays: Leave Country or Face Prosecution

Nigerian Police

A high-ranking Nigerian policewoman has cautioned gay people residing in the nation to leave or risk criminal prosecution. Dolapo Badmos, a Chief Superintendent and spokeswoman for the Lagos State Police Command, made the remarks on her private Instagram account, which is set to private and contains 125,000 followers. “If you are homosexually inclined, Nigeria isn’t a spot for you,” Badmos wrote last week.

“There’s a law (Same-sex Prohibition Act) here that criminalizes homosexual clubs, associations, and organizations with penalties of up to 14yeats (sic) in prison. “So, if you are homosexual in nature, depart the country or face prosecution,” composed Badmos, that has attained celebrity status in the country due to her frequent social networking posts.

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the controversial Same Gender Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) into legislation, despite widespread international objection. Those found guilty of being in a same-sex relationship face up to 14 years in jail.

The law was widely condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch at the time, as well as the then United States Secretary of State, John Kerry. Badmos’ remarks are the latest reminder of the challenges facing members of the LGBT community in a state where the anti-gay law enjoys broad support among its own citizens.

Another user said, “we have to say no to lesbianism and homosexuality it is wicked.” Badmos did not respond to CNN’s requests for clarification of her comments.

Olumide Makanjuola, executive manager at TIERs, told CNN that the Instagram article is tantamount to inciting violence against LGBTQ people in Nigeria, calling her comments “unacceptable.” “Police should be wary with their announcement and if they incite violence. What she said is out there,” Makanjuola said. Homophobia is prevalent in several African countries.

Over half of those states on the continent have enacted legislation which makes it illegal to be gay and in several, including Somalia and South Sudan, homosexuality is punishable by death. A 2013 Pew Research survey found that 98% of people in Nigeria think LGBTQ folks shouldn’t be approved by society.

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