A Nigerian judge has thrown out a controversial case which had been brought against 47 men charged with public displays of affection with members of the same sex.
The men were first arrested in a police raid on a hotel in the commercial hub of Lagos in 2018 after officers claimed they were being “initiated into a gay club”, but the defendants said they were just attending a birthday party.
Following several adjournments, Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Lagos High Court struck out the case and said he had done so because of a “lack of diligent prosecution”.
This case was seen as a test over a 2014 law introduced under Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan, which bans gay marriage as well as public displays of affection between people of the same sex. It carries a possible prison sentence of up to 14 years.
Homosexuality is outlawed in many socially conservative African countries, but the introduction of this law in Nigeria caused an international outcry.