The persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Nigeria remains appalling as the international community avoids to interfere, leading human rights activist Bisi Alimi warned in an interview with IBTimes UK.

Alimi, who became the first gay Nigerian to disclose his homosexuality on national TV in 2004, said many people leave the country every year because they are persecuted due to their sexual orientation.

Nigerians involved in a gay marriage or civil union face imprisonment for up to 14 years under the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill signed into law by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in 2014. According to the bill, dubbed "Jail the Gays", anyone who registers, operates or takes part in gay organisations or makes a public show of a same-sex relationship will also be punished with up to 10 years in prison.

The implementation of the law prompted a crackdown on homosexuals. Amnesty International said the new legislation disregards human rights and warned it mirrored the laws enforced by the military dictators who ruled Nigeria until 1999.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who defeated Goodluck Jonathan in March's election, has not hinted he would amend or scrap anti-gay laws in the country. The US, which became again a staunch ally of Nigeria after Buhari took office in May, said it will put pressure on Nigeria to scrap anti-gay laws and allow homosexual unions.

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LGBT crime
Homosexuality is considered a crime in Nigeria, with gay people at risk of being imprisoned for up to 14 years. Getty