According to a report by Channels TV, seven men appeared in court in Bauchi on Wednesday, Jan. 22, on charges of being involved in same-sex relationships.
The case drew thousands of protesters to the court, who threw stones at the men as they were being transported back to prison after the trial, as security forces fired into the air to disperse the angry crowd.
The men were arrested by the Bauchi State Sharia Commission for allegedly engaging in homosexual activities, acts that contravene the Islamic laws which the state had been operating under since 2001.
It was the first case since President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill that criminalises same-sex relationships, defying Western pressure over gay rights and provoking criticism from the United States.
The bill, which contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison and bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of gay rights groups, was passed by the National Assembly last May but Jonathan had delayed signing it into law until early January.
At Thursday’s trial, the prosecuting lawyer said the case was a direct result of the recently-passed law.
“This is further to the law against homosexuals which was signed by the President. It has to be implemented. People caught breaking this law must be prosecuted accordingly,” said Danlami Ayuba.
The trial was adjourned to January 27.