Nigeria: Polygamous Lesbians Flout Sharia
- Polygamous Lesbians Flee Sharia
A Nigerian lesbian who "married" four women last weekend in Kano State
has gone into hiding from the Islamic police, with her partners.
Under Sharia law, adopted in the state seven years ago, homosexuality
and same-sex marriages are outlawed and considered very serious
offences. The theatre where the elaborate wedding celebration was held
on Sunday has been demolished by Kano city's authorities. Lesbianism
is also illegal under Nigeria's national penal code. Nigeria's
parliament is considering tightening its laws on homosexuality.
Kano's Hisbah board, which uses volunteers to enforce Islamic law,
told the BBC that the women's marriage was "unacceptable". The BBC's
Bala Ibrahim in Kano says Aunty Maiduguri and her four "wives" are
thought to have gone into hiding the day after they married.
All five women, who are believed to be film actresses in the local
home-video industry, were born Muslims, otherwise they would not be
covered by Sharia law. Islam says a man can take up to four wives if
he is able to support them.
"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.
Mr Rabo told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that if the women
were found guilty of lesbianism they faced one of two punishments. For
a married woman the offence would be considered adultery for which the
punishment is death by stoning. A single woman would be caned.
Our correspondent says the theatre where the colourful wedding
ceremony was held was flattened earlier this week. Several reasons
were given for the demolition, including the discovery that it was
built on wrongly allocated land.
Eyewitnesses say there was a large turnout for the marriage and guests
were given leaflets as a souvenir showing Aunty Maiduguri surrounded
by her "brides". A Kano police spokesman told the BBC that his
officers were not actively looking for the women, but would arrest
them if need be.
The Hisbah group, which is run separately from the police, receives
state government support. 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 mostly Muslim northern
Nigeria have adopted Sharia law.
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