The Police on Wednesday arraigned 53 persons before a Magistrates’ Court in Chediya-Zaria, Kaduna State who were allegedly arrested during a gay marriage.

The prosecutor, Sgt. Mannir Nasir said the accused were arrested on April 15 at Zaria Motel and were being charged for conspiracy, unlawful assembly and belonging to a gang of unlawful society.

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He said the offences contravened Sections 97, 100 and 197(a) of Criminal Procedure Code [CPC].

“On April 15, 2017 at about 2100 hours a team of policemen led by DSP Muhammad Lawal-Mashi arrested and brought to police station 53 persons.

“The arrested persons included; Jibril Abdullahi, Sagir Abubakar, Anas Mohammed, Mustapha Ababukar, Musa Ibrahim and Suleiman Usman among others, all of various addresses.

“Information reached the police that these group of persons conspired to celebrate a gay marriage at Zaria Motel between one Faruk and Sanusi both at large,” the prosecutor said.

The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and their counsel, Yunusa Umar asked the court to release them on bail in line with sections 35 (4) and 36 (5) of the Constitution.

Umar lamented that the accused persons were detained in police custody for more than 24 hours contrary to the provisions of section 341 of CPC.

He told the court that most of the accused persons were students in their tender age.

The Chief Magistrate, Auwal Musa-Aliyu, granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of N500,000 each, with one surety each in the like sum, who must be a blood relation to the accused.

He ordered that each surety must present two passport size photographs, valid identity card, bank account number, letter of credence from a traditional ruler, a 2015 utility bill and a valid GSM number.

The Chief Magistrate adjoined the case till May 8, for further hearing.

Meanwhile, it would be racalled that on Saturday, February 6, 2016, Nigerian police officers apprehended two men attempting to get married in Jiwa community in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The sponsors of the event, including the owner of the hotel where the event was scheduled to take place, were also arrested. According to Leadership, hundreds of guests gathered at the venue, with decorations and a stage set for the occasion.

However, police officers from the Gwagwa police station entered as the celebrants were about to take their places at the high table. It is believed that the suspects from the Jiwa community are from Kaduna state. Leadership reports their names are Abdul Lawal (the Ango) and Umar Tahir (the Amarya), with Abubakar Tahir and Mohammed Sani acting as the main sponsors of the events.

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The police were tipped off beforehand about the same-sex marriage plans and kept surveillance in the area.

The former president Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the bill outlawing same-sex marriage in Nigeria on January 7, 2014. Nigerians risk a 14-year jail term for engaging in same-sex activities. Any person who runs or attends gay clubs, societies or organisations will earn a 10-year imprisonment, as well as those who administer, witness, abet or aid the solemnisation of a same-sex marriage.