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Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:35

Draconian anti-gay legislation in Nigeria

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The LGBT Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) is shocked at the news that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill which has already been approved by the country’s parliament.

 

President Goodluck Jonathan's spokesman, Reuben Abatim said that the president signed the bill because it was consistent with the attitudes of most Nigerian people towards homosexuality.

"I can confirm that the president has signed the bill into law," Abati said. "More than 90 percent of Nigerians are opposed to same-sex marriage, so the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs as a people," he added. 

Under the new law, any gay couple who gets married will be punished by up to 14 years prison and wedding guests will jailed for 10 years.  Anyone who provides services to a gay person will be imprisoned for up to five years. LGBT organizations will be banned, as well as any act of 'public showing of a same-sex relationship'. 

Commenting on this horrific development the PTT’s secretary, George Broadhead, said: “Gays and lesbians already face open discrimination and abuse in a country divided by Christians and Muslims who almost uniformly oppose homosexuality. In the areas in Nigeria’s north where Islamic Sharia law has been enforced for about a decade, gays and lesbians can face death by stoning.

“This Draconian legislation is almost as bad as that already in place in Islamic theocracies like Iran and Saudi Arabia. It harks back to the anti-gay legislation enacted in Nazi Germany and we all know what that led to.

“Nigeria has become the most homophobic nation in Africa. The situation for LGBT people in Nigeria will be completely untenable, setting a precedent that would threaten all Nigerians’ rights to privacy, equality, free expression and free association. It could also encourage other African states, in which homophobia is rife, to introduce similar legislation.

“It is clear that the main impetus for such legislation has come from religious sources including the Anglican Church. By contrast, the Nigerian Humanist Movement has defended LGBT rights in the country and its former executive director, Leo Igwe, deserves much credit for courageously speaking up for these rights in the country’s parliament. Mr Igwe commented: “This is a very sad development for human rights in Nigeria.”

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