News | Nigeria

Nigerian Lawmakers Pass Bill to Imprison Gays for 14 Years

Nigeria's House of Representatives has approved a bill passed by the country's Senate in November 2011 mandating a 14-year jail sentence for gays who marry or engage in relationships and 10 years for those who help them.

The AP reports:

Nigeria's House of Representatives passed the bill Thursday in a voice vote. The Senate previously passed the bill in November 2011. It was not immediately clear if there were differences between the House and Senate versions. If there are none, the bill goes immediately to President Goodluck Jonathan to potentially sign into law.

It also criminalizes registering gay clubs or organizations, as well as "public show of same-sex amorous relationships."

NigeriaAmnesty condemned the bill in 2011 before the House passed it:

By broadly defining “same-sex marriage” as including all same-sex relationships, and targeting people who “witness”, “aid” or “abet” such relationships, the bill threatens the human rights of a large number of people...

...“Nigeria’s House of Representatives should show leadership and uphold the rights of all in Nigeria by rejecting this reprehensible bill,” said Erwin van der Borght, director of the Africa Programme.

“If passed, this measure would target people on the basis of their identity, not merely their behaviour, and put a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions for exercising basic rights and opposing discrimination based purely on a person’s actual or presumed sexual orientation or gender identity.”

It would place a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions, including human rights defenders and anyone else – including friends, families and colleagues – who stands up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Nigeria.

Individuals could face imprisonment based on nothing more than their actual or assumed sexual orientation or gender identity, or stemming from allegations about their relationship status or consensual sexual conduct.

In December 2011, activists delivered more than 58,000 signatures to the Nigerian mission to the United Nations asking Nigeria's president to veto the bill.

BransonSir Richard Branson spoke out about it:

Too sad to comprehend that Nigeria are passing a law in this day and age to put gay people in prison just for being gay.

The Prohibition of Same-Sex Marriage Bill passed through Nigeria’s Senate unopposed last week. It means gay couples entering into either marriage or cohabitation will be jailed for up to 14 years. Even people "witnessing" or "abetting" gay relationships could be punished under this sad, repressive and cruel law.

Like everyone else in society, gay people have an enormous amount to offer and Nigeria should embrace them not prosecute them.

All of us with influence in Nigeria must do what we can to stop this cruel law. I would urge educated Nigerians all over the world to do what they can to help fight this discrimination.

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  1. Please urge your elected officials to stop all funding and American aide to Nigeria - even humanitarian aide should cease. Putting people in jail for 14 years just because they were born gay is abhorrent. The U.S. should give them nothing until the policy is changed.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | May 30, 2013 11:29:20 AM

  2. What the hell!

    I just sent their Prince $5,000.00, why would they do this?

    Posted by: Tim S | May 30, 2013 11:30:03 AM

  3. Nigeria is a tough situation. It's under attack by Islam. If the government is too liberal, they fear Islam getting a deeper footing with a highly superstitious people. The Moslems attack Christians and kill them as it is. The Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola is trying desperately to drive Islam out of the country without starting a holy war. Like it or not, gay rights is one of the flashpoints in the culture wars.

    Posted by: David Hearne | May 30, 2013 11:54:57 AM

  4. I don't think the US or its western allies can do much about this, but I do think they should grant asylum status to any LGBT person who is from Nigeria without any delay or red-tape. We had the Mariella boat-rescue for the Cubans -- we need something of that type for LGBT people in Nigeria.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | May 30, 2013 12:02:37 PM

  5. Hitler would be proud of those filthy barbarians.

    Posted by: RMc | May 30, 2013 12:09:08 PM

  6. The president's first name is actually Goodluck! Think these people are superstitious much?!

    Posted by: jvc | May 30, 2013 12:15:52 PM

  7. Can Richard Branson be more likable? I got a crush on this guy already!
    And yes Nigeria-and many of its neighbors- is pure hell for gay people...

    Posted by: George F | May 30, 2013 12:20:17 PM

  8. Third World idiocy - plain and simple. Let's see what our State Department has to say about this latest Nigerian government stupidity.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | May 30, 2013 12:23:16 PM

  9. In Nigeria Gays are jailed for 14 years while online fraud runs rampant.

    Not only individuals have to voice their opposition, but we have to urge and pressure our Governments to drop all aid to Nigeria and those countries who oppress their people.

    Posted by: jay | May 30, 2013 12:30:52 PM

  10. What does the British Commonwealth [do they still call it British? Not sure.] say about this?

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 30, 2013 1:11:44 PM

  11. Indoor toilets have only recently made it to Nigeria and not in most of the country. Primitive is not only their lifestyle but their mentality. Its not just gays, witches are also a problem there. Let the jungle and disease just take back this cesspool. Let jebus save them, not my tax dollars. Our silence will only give them support.

    Posted by: terry | May 30, 2013 1:20:32 PM

  12. Yes Nigeria soil will never accommodate gay,, thank God forour

    Posted by: pastor matthew | May 30, 2013 1:29:23 PM

  13. "Nigeria is a tough situation. It's under attack by Islam. If the government is too liberal, they fear Islam getting a deeper footing with a highly superstitious people. The Moslems attack Christians and kill them as it is. The Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola is trying desperately to drive Islam out of the country without starting a holy war. Like it or not, gay rights is one of the flashpoints in the culture wars."

    The "Christians" are just as homophobic as the Muslims, David. Sadly, it is just about the only thing that unites them.

    "Indoor toilets have only recently made it to Nigeria and not in most of the country."

    Silly statement. I spent a month in Nigeria in 2009 and while it is backwards and for the most part, a hellhole--and while the electricity is sporadic and can go off at any time--there certainly are flush toilets....and Internet cafes....and ATM machines, etc. Even Africa is no longer "primitive", unless you go way, way out into the bush.....

    Posted by: Rick | May 30, 2013 2:48:38 PM

  14. All of you filthy westerners castigating nigerian govt and its people should know that every society has a culture. Homosexuality is not part of our culture. U guys cannot continue to impose ur devilish culture on us. Even animals dont engage in homosexuality. God your creator and mine abhors it. So u can keep your aid because we dnt need. Ask your politicians who allow same sex unions why they or their children are not endulging in it.

    Posted by: lawrence | May 30, 2013 4:30:53 PM

  15. hey lawrence - can you do a little dance when you perform that routine?

    Posted by: David Hearne | May 30, 2013 4:51:30 PM

  16. I know that disinvestment of South Africa in the 1980s due to apartheid had mixed results. Still, a major US company pulling out of Nigeria would draw worldwide publicity.

    For example: Delta Airlines could cancel their daily flight into Lagos. Passengers could be reaccommodated on a partner airline. Although largely symbolic, it could help.

    Of course, I'm not holding my breath.

    Posted by: alex | May 30, 2013 5:44:41 PM

  17. This is a good example for people who think Africa is a civilized continent.

    Posted by: jaragon | May 30, 2013 5:49:34 PM

  18. keep ur stupid aid to ur self, ur aid is virus that u uses to poison the mind of Africa. u idiot benifit more from Africa dan de benefit from u, if u all batty knows wat is good for u, stay away from Nigeria becos if u are caught soliciting gay u will be killed b4 the law even get to u

    Posted by: osasu | May 30, 2013 7:10:22 PM

  19. Comments like osasu are why I'm an advocate of extreme violence in the face of violent immoral threats like his. No negotiation, no "we're better than that". Just a single response to animals that need to be culled.

    Posted by: indorri | May 30, 2013 7:55:19 PM

  20. lawrence, while not a wretched beast like osasu, is also highly immoral who considers "culture" to be above sound morals and ethics, and is ignorant of biology.

    Posted by: indorri | May 30, 2013 7:57:19 PM

  21. pastor matthew is also highly immoral. He considers incarceration "non-accommodation". Perhaps we should no longer accommodate pastors who support evil laws like this.

    Posted by: indorri | May 30, 2013 7:59:18 PM

  22. White evangelical colonialists continue to corrupt Africa.

    Posted by: jamal49 | May 31, 2013 11:32:46 AM

  23. i dont have time to drag words with u guys, we dont want this virus in our country. we will do every thing we can to stop u lotz dat are spreading this diseases, in the name of charity to Africa believe me or not if u are caught i swear u will be dead, i repeat dead b4 d law get u so be warn.

    Posted by: osasu | May 31, 2013 4:53:13 PM

  24. Osasu:

    how much do you know about Nigerian culture(S) and religion(S) before colonialism? Before the coming of Islam and Christianity?

    You continue to persecute and kill African Gay people then African Straight people deserve to fail and starve and die.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 31, 2013 5:43:16 PM

  25. Feh, goyim.

    Posted by: Queer Supremacist | May 31, 2013 6:00:08 PM

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