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Muhammadu Buhari: Nigeria re-elects president who called gay sex ‘abhorrent’

Josh Jackman February 28, 2019
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during a meeting with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on April 30, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Nigeria has reelected anti-gay President Muhammadu Buhari (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty)

Nigeria has re-elected President Muhammadu Buhari, who once called gay sex “abhorrent.”

While on a trip to meet US President Barack Obama in July 2015, Buhari was asked by American officials about same-sex marriage.

“Sodomy is against the law in Nigeria, and abhorrent to our culture.”

— Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, according to his aide Femi Adesina

According to Buhari’s special advisor on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, the president’s response was clear.

“PMB (President Muhammadu Buhari) was point blank,” he wrote on Twitter. “Sodomy is against the law in Nigeria, and abhorrent to our culture.”


People convicted of having gay sex in Nigeria can spend up to 14 years in prison—apart from in 12 northern states with Sharia law, where they are stoned to death.

Buhari was voted in for a second term on Saturday (February 23) in what runner-up Atiku Abubakar has called a “sham election” and a “throwback to the jackboot era of military dictatorship,” according to BBC News.

He has vowed to go to court over the election, which reportedly saw a record low turnout of just 35.6 percent.

The re-election of Muhammadu Buhari will not calm LGBT+ Nigerians’ fears

Queer people in the country have lived in fear of arrest and attack under Buhari.

A lesbian couple and nine other women were arrested last month for reportedly planning the pair’s wedding.

They were detained in the northern state of Kano, where anyone convicted of having lesbian sex can be sentenced to death by stoning.

And this was the latest in a long line of anti-LGBT actions by the authorities in Nigeria.

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2016 in New York City.
President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari has been elected to serve a second term. (Drew Angerer/Getty)

In August, police raided a hotel in Lagos and arrested 57 men on suspicion of having gay sex, just weeks after six men in the south-eastern state of Abia were arrested for the same reason.

The 57 men, who said they were attending a birthday party, were charged by a court with three counts of conspiracy, belonging to a secret cult and unlawful gathering, and were each held on bail of ₦200,000 (£430).

In 2017, 42 men were arrested at Lagos hotel for having gay sex, just months after 45 out of a group of 53 people arrested on suspicion of attending a same-sex wedding jumped bail.

Earlier this year, a prominent police officer in Nigeria told gay people to “leave the country or face prosecution.”

Dolapo Badmos, a Chief Superintendent and Lagos State Police Command spokesperson, also urged citizens to report gay people to the police, according to Nigerian newspaper The Punch.

Badmos told her 125,000 Instagram followers: “If you are homosexually inclined, Nigeria is not a place for you.”

More: Africa, Africa, election, Gay, gay sex, Nigeria, Nigeria, Politics, President Muhammadu Buhari, US

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