Police violence targeting LGBTIQ+ people in Nigeria: Advancing solutions for a 21st century challenge


  • Sulaimon Abiodun Olawale Giwa Endowed Chair in Criminology and Criminal Justice Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice St. Thomas University Assistant Professor, School of Social Work Cross-appointed to Department of Sociology, Police Studies Memorial University of Newfoundland http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8076-0277
  • Carmen H. Logie Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work University of Toronto
  • Karun K. Karki School of Social Work Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Olumide F. Makanjuola Sexual Health and Rights Advocate, Nigeria
  • Chinonye Edmund Obiagwu Human Rights Lawyer and National Coordinator Legal Defence and Assistance Project, Nigeria




Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, LGBT, Police Violence and Abuse, Human Rights, Nigeria


The Government of Nigeria passed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) in 2014, emboldening the human rights violations of LGBT Nigerians by state and nonstate actors. Nigerian police enforce morality laws that criminalize same-sex relations, but their role as perpetrators of violence has not been well studied. Using six-year (2014 to 2019) administrative data, this article investigates the severity, prevalence, and typology of police violence and abuse of LGBT Nigerians. Since SSMPA, violence against LGBT Nigerians has risen by 214 percent. Survivors frequently report arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention, invasion of privacy, physical assault and battery, and blackmail/extortion. This study is the first to present serial, cross-sectional findings of LGBT Nigerians’ experience with the police. Available administrative reports and data were synthesized to produce a general picture of the situation on the ground. Findings point to actionable social and policy recommendations that can be taken to promote police accountability and improve police-LGBT community relations.


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