(EDGE) There was a massive arrest of gay men in Nigeria over the weekend. According to a report in Nigerian newspaper Punch, no fewer than 42 men were rounded up by police in a hotel in Lagos State on Saturday on suspicion that they were involved in "homosexual acts."
According to an eyewitness who spoke to Punch, police sealed off the Vincent Hotel around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
"There have been reports that the hotel harbors homosexuals," the source told Punch. "They were there this afternoon when policemen struck. About 40 of them were caught in the act."
BBC notes that since passing a law criminalizing same-sex marriage and gay groups in 2013, Nigerian police have cracked down on people suspected of homosexuality.
In April, AP reported that Nigerian police arrested 53 young men who celebrated a gay wedding and charged them with "belonging to a gang of unlawful society."
Homosexual acts have been illegal in Nigeria since 1901. In the southern states where evangelical christians have political influence., people convicted on same-sex offenses can be sentenced to up to 14 years in jail. In the heavily muslim northern states under sharia law, the sentence can be worse.
Fox News notes that according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, same-sex relations are explicitly banned in 72 countries -- although the number of nations that criminalize such relations has been decreasing each year.