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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK
Polygamous lesbians flee Sharia
A picture of Aunty Maiduguri from a souvenir given to guests

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.

Hisbah volunteers
Hisbah volunteers enforce Islamic law in Kano State

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.

Large turnout

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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