Nigeria: polygamous lesbians flee Islamic police

Aunty Maiduguri, a Nigerian lesbian who married four other women last weekend in Kano State, has gone into hiding from the Islamic police, along with her partners. Under Sharia law, adopted in the state seven years ago, homosexuality and same-sex marriages are outlawed. The theater where the wedding celebration was held April 22 has been demolished by Kano city’s authorities. Lesbianism is also illegal under Nigeria’s national penal code, and parliament is considering tightening its laws on homosexuality.

All five women, who are believed to be film actresses in the local home-video industry, were covered by sharia law because they were born Muslims. A force known as the Hisbah volunteers enforce Islamic law in Kano State. “As defenders of the sharia laws, we shall not allow this unhealthy development to take root in the state,” the Hisbah’s deputy commander Ustaz Abubakar Rabo told Nigeria’s This Day newspaper.

Rabo told the BBC’s Focus on Africa program that if the women were found guilty of lesbianism they faced one of two punishments. For a married woman, the offense would be considered adultery, with a punishment of death by stoning. A single woman would be caned.

A man can take up to four wives if he is able to support them under Kano’s sharia code. Two years ago, a Sharia court sentenced a man to six months in prison and fined him $38 for living as a woman for seven years in Kano. Eleven other states in northern Nigeria have adopted sharia law. (BBC, April 27)

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