- The arrest took place on August 28, 2023, when the Delta State Police Command raided a hotel in Ekpan, Warri, where the wedding was being held
- The protesters emphasized that LGBTQIA+ individuals are not a threat to Nigerian identity or national security
- The protestors demanded the release of the detainees and the dropping of charges against them
On Tuesday, September 12, Black LGBTQ legislators from Washington, D.C., and Maryland, along with activists, gathered in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Northwest Washington. Their purpose was to denounce the arrest that occurred last month, involving over 200 individuals detained during a same-sex wedding in Delta State.
WithinNigeria reported that on August 28, 2023, members of the Delta State Police Command conducted a raid at a hotel in Ekpan, Warri, where the aforementioned wedding was being held, resulting in the apprehension of the individuals involved.
“What we saw with the recent arrest and detention is not just a violation of people’s rights with this unjust arrest, but the parading of LGBTQIA+ folks before the media as if Nigerian law enforcement officials have actually accomplished some sort of a public safety measure,” said Maryland state Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery County), who is the first openly gay man of Afro-Latino descent elected to the Maryland General Assembly.
“Let’s be clear: LGBTQIA+ folks, queer Nigerians are not a threat to Nigerian identity or national security, but Boko Haram is,” he added.
“We are here today to demand that Nigeria releases these detainees and drop the charges,” said York.
“We are here today because we have heavy hearts addressing a pressing issue that demands our immediate attention,” said Martinez, who is also Afro-Latino and the first openly gay man to represent Prince George’s County in the House of Delegates.
“Nigeria, a nation with immense potential and cultural richness is currently taking a stance to contradicts the principles of equality and human rights.”
“We’re here to protest Nigeria’s anti LGBTQ policy, and urge for change,” added the Prince George’s County Democrat.
Oriadha, who is bisexual, noted her father was born in Kenya. She dismissed the idea that homosexuality is a Western concept.
“The notion is that this is a white American imperialistic viewpoint and values that are trying to be imposed on these cultures is not true,” said Oriadha. “That notion alone ignores the existence, the mere existence of their own people in their own communities,”
Parker, who is the first Black gay man elected to the D.C. City Council, in his remarks noted Nigeria is one of many countries in which anti-LGBTQ crackdowns are taking place.
The Ward 5 council member also highlighted discrimination and violence based on gender identity and sexual orientation also remain problems in D.C. and across the U.S.
“We know, sadly, is that we’re today protesting Nigeria; but we can also protest Pakistan, we can go protest Jamaica and Haiti and a host of other countries around the globe where Black queer people are being prosecuted or being killed,” said Parker.
“Even here in our own country, where Black trans people are being hunted on our streets, or have gone missing without even a notice, where there are bans on books, there are bans and our oppressive policies against our bodies, even here in the nation’s capital where we have work to do.”