Nigeria: Islamic police target ‘same-sex weddings’, Mohawk hair and mannequins

Islamic police recently arrested 19 people at an alleged same-sex wedding in Kano in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria. The raid was part of an extensive campaign against practices deemed immoral, including mannequins, untraditional hair styles, saggy trousers and DJs.

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Shariah court in Kano, Nigeria. (Photo courtesy of P.M. News Nigeria)

Sahara Reporters covered a press conference at which Islamic police described their:

  • Massive crackdowns on “86 immoral gatherings such as same-sex weddings, drug parties and other similar offenses”;
  • Destruction of 25 trucks of beer;
  • Prohibition of “stylish haircuts, sagging of trousers and playing of music at social events by disk jockeys”; and
  • Prohibition on the “use of mannequins by tailors, boutique owners and others contravenes the provision of Islamic injunctions.

Out in Perth reported:

Islamic police raid ‘gay wedding’ in Nigeria, arresting 19 people

Islamic police in Northern Nigeria have raided what they claim was a “gay wedding”, arresting 19 Muslim men and women.

The police raided an event in Kano, the largest city in Northern Nigeria, following a tip-off, police spokesman Lawal Ibrahim Fagge said.

He said the couple, who had not yet taken their vows, escaped capture, but police continued to search for them.

Kano has a mostly Muslim population and religious law operates alongside secular law. Homosexuality is illegal under both systems. Under secular law those found guilty of homosexuality can face up to 14 years in prison, but Sharia laws called for death by stoning.

The police spokesman told the BBC that the fifteen men and four women arrested at the event would be encouraged to undergo counselling and their parents had been encouraged to come forward.

“We’ll explore the avenue of change before we charge them in court. First we counsel them and involve the parents and we hope they change their lifestyle,” Fagge said.

Fagge said police had raided a similar event in 2021 arresting 18 people but all were released after they were gave assurances that they would change their lifestyle.

According to BBC News Pidgin:

The 15 male and four female wedding guests who were arrested during the Dec. 18 raid included both gays and cross-dressers.

Islamic courts in Kano have never convicted anyone for being gay, the BBC said.

LGBTQ Nation reported:

A spokesman for the police force, Lawal Ibrahim Fagge, said the 19 people who were arrested … are not being formally charged with anything, but rather are being encouraged to change their “lifestyle” through “counseling.”

“We’ll explore the avenue of change before we charge them in court. First we counsel them, and involve the parents and we hope they change their lifestyle,” Fagge said.

Fagge added that last year, Hisbah arrested 18 people at another same-sex wedding, and that they were all released after promising (in writing) to “change their lifestyle.”

About Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at

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