Breaking Nigeria passes sweeping anti-gay legislation

By Melanie Nathan, May 30, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 9.58.53 AMToday in Nigeria, lawmakers passed a bill Thursday banning gay marriage and outlawing anyone from forming organizations supporting gay rights, setting prison terms of up to 14 years for offenders.

Nigeria’s House of Representatives approved the bill in a voice vote. In the meantime there may be  differences between the House and Senate versions, and so a joint committee of lawmakers will have to first reconcile the bill before sending it to President Goodluck Jonathan for him to potentially sign into law. It is not known whether he will sign. However what is known is that this will cause a huge outcry in the international community.

Both the United States and the United Kingdom raised concerns over this because is  put foreign funding for AIDS and HIV outreach programs in jeopardy.

nigerian parliamentAP reports note that Nigeria’s Senate previously passed the bill in November 2011 and the measure quietly disappeared for some time before coming up in Thursday’s session of the House. Under previous versions of the proposed law, couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Other additions to the bill include making it illegal to register gay clubs or organizations, as well as criminalizing the “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly.” Those who violate those laws would face 10-year imprisonment as well.

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 9.57.16 AMGay sex has been banned in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people, since colonial rule by the British. Gays face open discrimination and abuse in a country divided by Christians and Muslims who almost uniformly oppose homosexuality.

Kaleidoscope Trust director of faith and social development, Rev. Ijeoma Ajibade, said:

‘This legislation denies LGBT Nigerians their fundamental rights. By claiming it is about outlawing same-sex marriage, the parliament is deliberately misleading people. Not a single group in my home country has asked for gay marriage. They ask only for the same rights to freedom from discrimination, personal liberty, human dignity and privacy that all Nigerians are entitled to under the constitution.  “Nigeria confronts serious issues of national security, corruption and poor governance that parliament should be tackling rather than launching attacks on sections of its own people.”

Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT activist and one of the founders of the Kaleidoscope Trust, called on the international community to protest to President Jonathan. “If this bill is signed into law Nigeria will be the first country in recent history to increase the penalties for LGBT people in this way. It will only encourage those in countries like Uganda and Sierra Leone who want to do the same.”

Nigeria’s proposed law has drawn the interest of European Union countries, some of which already offer Nigeria’s sexual minorities asylum based on gender identity.

We have yet to hear from the U.S.A.  where asylum  is almost an impossibility for someone who is stuck in Nigeria and unable to get out. What western countries including the U.S.A. ought to be doing is providing special “persecution” VISAS to LGBT people in these African countries that criminalize their sexuality and we as an LGBT community should be screaming loud and clear imploring upon our government to help our African LGBTI communities. We are doing very little at this time. But now that the heat is on, we need to act quickly.  The way the law stands an LGBT persons would have to become refugees before finding a country to settle them, or as far as the U.S. is concerned enter the US on a visitor or other VISA and ask for asylum, which is barely affordable and usually impossible to obtain for most, or if they apply for asylum within their country at an embassy, many are turned away or it takes over 18 months to effect.

The measure also could affect HIV and AIDS outreach programs funding by USAID, an arm of the U.S. government. Nigeria has the world’s third-largest population of people living with HIV and AIDS.Nigeria vote

We have yet to read the legislation in its current form and so we do not know if it has included reporting known gays. We will keep you updated as to all its provisions. The AP also could not get their hands on the actual copy of the bill, but we are told it is sweeping and extremely onerous.

By Melanie Nathan,
Research: Cathy Kristofferson
Source AP.

18 thoughts on “Breaking Nigeria passes sweeping anti-gay legislation

  1. And you think there isn’t a “jihad”? This is what I meant …… about the “war” on the LGBT community!! Passed anti-gay sweeping law!!

    1. The only things alien to AFRICA is the penal codes of colonialists which outlawed homosexuality and the preaching of Evangelical fundamentalist Christians with their misinterpretation and out of context Bible teaching – ALL IMPORTS to Africa – There is nothing Un African about homosexuality. It may not be the majority sexual orientation but it is natural.

        1. The only devil is in the people who hate. I hate no one. Gay people hate no one. Hate is the ultimate devil and threatening to kill people who have good hearts is acting like a devil. You my friend are the devil in disguise – well that is if you believe that crap in the first place…

          1. Gay people can’t hate!! Too much hate has already been heaped upon us!!! When don’t hate because we know how it feels!!! And we don’t like to make other people feel hated!!
            Agree …. you are the devil in disguise …… SMH!!!!

  2. Actually one should read books like “Of Water and the Spirit” and “Olodumare: God in Yoruba Belief” before making weird statements. Traditional african culture had not problem with Gay people. In fact, most tribal peoples considered them sacred. One of the first thing the Evangelists from Islam and Christianity did, was go after the Laissez-faire attitude towards sex and sexuality tribal cultures had. Targeting gays and lowering the status of women as a result.

    This is a pattern in Western cultures domination of the rest of the world. Destroy the Goddess, destroy her religions, and demonize her worshipers. Prior to colonial invasion the Yoruba had numerous words for various types of gender (from masculine woman to feminine man). I’m not going to write more or this will turn into a dissertation. Just Google “Yoruba and Gender” and educate yourself. Current homophobia, witchhunting,and misgony in Nigeria and beyond European imports.

  3. The end of the world has actually come what is gay thanks to the go verment of nigeria for coming out tough on same sex marriage. Should it go the other wayround my personal reaction will be worst betterthan imagine infact nobody can prevent instant killing of these useless element in our society they should not bring curse of God to this country. The west can never stop at nothing after their expenditure in space thinking they could see God and it was not possible they have decided to come back to our mother earth for distruction. Well it is simple message to these deveils in human that what ever a man soweth so shall he reap

    1. I dont usually put up threats to kill and such terribly hateful remarks. But Mr. Mark Erewele you are a hateful person and must indeed think YOU ARE GOD. Every one is a creation and child of God. Even gay people. What you seem not to understand is that being homosexual is a natural born sexuality, It is the colonialists and the Christian missionaries who invaded African countries who have taught you this hateful garbage. I suggest you re-read your Bible and see what God feels about who who pretend they are God. Noweher in the Bible does it say that same-gender consulting adults cannot love each other and have a relationship, All references that you cir=te are about war and rape. You are told to Love, and to respect. So wake up and realize that it is YOU who brings the curse to GOD when you hate your fellow humans for being simply who they are. God did not intend for anyone to hate people who simply love each other.

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