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Interviewees, including representatives of mainstream human rights organizations, said the SSMPA has created opportunities for people to act out their homophobia with brutality and without fear of legal consequences.
Under the auspices of the SSMPA, police have raided the offices of NGOs that provide legal and HIV services to LGBT communities.
Human Rights Watch interviewed eight of the 21 young men who were arrested, but not charged, at a birthday party in Ibadan.
They told Human Rights Watch that members of the public informed the police that gay men were gathered together and when police arrived and found a bag of condoms that belonged to an HIV peer educator, they were all arrested.
This report documents the human rights impact of the SSMPA on LGBT individuals and its effects on the activities of non-governmental organizations that provide services to LGBT people.
Lesbian and bisexual women in particular reported that fear of being perceived as “guilty by association” led them to avoid associating with other LGBT community members, increasing their isolation and, in some cases, eventually compelling them to marry an opposite-sex partner, have children, and conform to socially proscribed gender norms.The heated public debate and heightened media interest in the law have made homosexuality more visible and LGBT people even more vulnerable than they already were.Many LGBT individuals interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that prior to the enactment of the SSMPA in January 2014, the general public objected to homosexuality primarily on the basis of religious beliefs and perceptions of what constitutes African culture and tradition.Punishments are severe, ranging from 10 to 14 years in prison.Such provisions build on existing legislation in Nigeria, but go much further: while the colonial-era criminal and penal codes outlawed sexual acts between members of the same sex, the SSMPA effectively criminalizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity.