Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Nigeria face legal and social challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. The country does not allow or recognise LGBT rights. There is no legal protection against discrimination in Nigeria—a largely conservative country of more than 200 million people, split between a mainly Muslim north and a largely Christian south. Very few LGBT persons are open about their orientation, and violence against LGBT people is frequent. Edafe Okporo fled Nigeria to the United States seeking asylum based on his sexual orientation and was granted political asylum in 2017. LGBTQ Nigerians are fleeing to countries with progressive law to seek protection.
Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria. The maximum punishment in the twelve northern states that have adopted Shari’a law is death by stoning. That law applies to all Muslims and to those who have voluntarily consented to application of the Shari’a courts. In southern Nigeria and under the secular criminal laws of northern Nigeria, the maximum punishment for same-sex sexual activity is 14 years’ imprisonment. The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act criminalises all forms of same-sex unions and same-sex marriage throughout the country.
According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 97 percent of Nigerian residents believe that homosexuality is a way of life that society should not accept, which was the second-highest rate of non-acceptance in the 45 countries surveyed. In 2015, a survey by an organisation founded by a Nigerian homosexual activist based in London claimed this percentage decreased to 94%. In this survey by Bisi Alimi, as of the same period the percentage of Nigerians who agree LGBT persons should receive education, healthcare, and housing is 30%.