Victims of a same-sex dating app scam in Nigeria are being encouraged by police to come forward and give evidence – but without the assurance of an amnesty in a country that criminalises gay relationships. 

People can face up to 10 years in jail for being part of any association that could be considered a gay social club or group, and up to 14 years for being in a same-sex relationship, according to the BBC.

On Sunday, six people were arrested for allegedly blackmailing gays who signed up to the unnamed dating app.

The BBC reports that the arrests were made after someone complained of having been blackmailed. Police say the fraudsters threatened to publish nude photos of the man on social media unless he paid them money.

Nigerian police said the suspects detained in Sunday’s operation had confessed to luring at least eight people from around the country on a date and then taking them hostage, with a view to getting the pin numbers of their accounts and stealing their money. 

Police spokesperson Ramhan Nansel said initial investigations had confirmed that up to $3 260 had been extorted from eight people.