A birthday party organized by a gay man on Sunday 22 July in Lagos Island did not end as planned: Anti-gay threats fueled tension and fear among the party-goers, numbering 150 to 170 people. Eventually the party broke up as party-goers left to avoid a rumored police raid.
An eyewitness who attended the party shared details of the event on Facebook. He later confirmed the accuracy of the account:
The party started at around 11 p.m. at a Lagos Island hotel with about 150 to 170 gays in attendance, but fear did not let people enjoy their time at the party. Rumors spread of a looming police raid, which is a common occurrence at such gatherings in Nigeria where homosexuals are continually intimidated, harassed and victimized.
The party went on well till about 3 a.m. in the morning, but came to a halt after other people at the hotel complained that the noise from the hotel’s nightclub and nearby rooms was too loud. A woman threatened to call police, saying that what they were doing was “illegal.”
After the threat, news of a possible police raid circulated among the party attendants, causing so much fear and tension which led to the abrupt ending of the party.
Yes, homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, and certain sections of the Anti-Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act [SSMPA], forbid any form of gay gatherings and public show of affection between gays.
True, hotel guests shouldn’t be deprived of a good night’s sleep.
But disrupting a party on the basis of party-goers’ sexual orientation, rather than their noise, is a violation of a person’s right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.