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16 Things You Should Know About the Anti-Gay Situation in Nigeria

Here are 16 things you should know about the recent passage of an anti-gay law in Nigeria and the reported arrests that have been made, as well as reaction from the U.S. and the EU. (Some points here were sourced from this AP story.)

Nigeria— The Nigerian law passed late last year but was not signed by President Goodluck Jonathan until last week.

— Four men were arrested over the Christmas holiday and tortured and beaten until they gave names of others.

— The crime? Belonging to a gay organization.

— Authorities were responding to a ridiculous rumor that the U.S. paid activists $20 million to promote gay marriage in Nigeria, according to an AIDS counselor.

— Now, at least 38 have allegedly been arrested from a list of 168, according to reports. According to Chairman Mustapha Baba Ilela of Bauchi state Shariah Commission, 11 have been arrested over the past two weeks.

— All of the 11 arrested signed confessions (probably tortured out of them) that they belonged to a gay organization that some later retracted in court.

Bauchi— Dozens of gay people have fled Nigeria's Bauchi state because of the crackdown.

— Some of the victims are receiving backing from an organization called Initiative For Equality in Nigeria.

— Police regularly use detainees' cell phones to text and lure others, and then extort money from them under the threat that they will be exposed as homosexual.

— The newly signed Nigerian law has penalties of 14 years for people in gay marriages or civil unions and 10 years for people found to be members of gay clubs, societies, or organizations.

— Nigeria has the second-largest HIV epidemic with approximately 3.4 million people living with HIV, and HIV/AIDS services may be severely affected by this new law.

— Bauchi state has a Western-style penal code as well as Shariah law.

— Sodomy is already outlawed and carries the death sentence in Bauchi state under Shariah law, with death by public stoning or injection. No such penalty has been made thus far.

— The U.S. State Department has been monitoring the situation since before the law's passage.

Kerry— Secretary of State John Kerry has released this statement:

"The United States is deeply concerned by Nigeria’s enactment of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. Beyond even prohibiting same sex marriage, this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians. Moreover, it is inconsistent with Nigeria’s international legal obligations and undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in its 1999 Constitution. People everywhere deserve to live in freedom and equality. No one should face violence or discrimination for who they are or who they love. We join with those in Nigeria who appeal for the protection of their fellow citizens’ fundamental freedoms and universal human rights."

— The EU High Representative Catherine Ashton released this statement:

“The European Union is opposed to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. It is firmly committed to fundamental human rights and the rule of law in respect of those rights, including freedom of association, conscience and speech and the equality of persons. It supports the respect of human rights in all countries of the world. I am therefore particularly concerned that some provisions of the Act appear to be in contradiction with those fundamental rights, which are themselves guaranteed by Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, and to be inconsistent with the legal obligations enshrined in a number of international agreements to which Nigeria is a party.”

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Comments

  1. Goodluck Jonathan needs to understand that implementation of this law has ramifications - like loss of US/UK/EU aid, all aid.

    Posted by: bkmn | Jan 15, 2014 9:35:09 AM


  2. I feel like this could be boiled down to ONE thing, really: DON'T TRAVEL TO NIGERIA.

    Posted by: Lucas H | Jan 15, 2014 9:50:45 AM


  3. Talk is cheap. Where are the actions?
    We donate over five hundred million dollars to this nation. Your tax dollars help support this government. It's disgusting.

    Posted by: sjorgl | Jan 15, 2014 9:58:25 AM


  4. Nigeria has oil - it does not really need aid in the same way as the rest of Africa does.

    Trade sanctions against Nigeria will be more effective.

    Does the US commit to imposing sanctions against Nigeria.

    If not then how can be campaign to make sure that not a single cent in aid or trade goes to this disgusting, savage s***hole of a country.

    Posted by: MaryM | Jan 15, 2014 9:58:41 AM


  5. Never mind the corrupt polluting oil industry, the garbage problems, slums, crime, tribal and religious insurrection/violence....These countries in Africa and the middle east are black holes. I can't fathom what could be done to help these people.

    Posted by: spg | Jan 15, 2014 10:07:46 AM


  6. Such strong language from Secr. Kerry! Not!

    Nigeria is very complicated. It's still very tribal and different tribes are allowed to have different laws in their area. However, because of oil and a huge population, it's essentially in a state of low-level civil war.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 15, 2014 10:12:37 AM


  7. AFRICA -WHAT A HELLHOLE.

    Posted by: Dan Cobb | Jan 15, 2014 10:50:50 AM


  8. What you are seeing in Africa is the results of abhorrent vile disgusting ultra conserative Americans who see they have lost the battle over equality infecting these countries with their vile antics..................

    Posted by: PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS | Jan 15, 2014 11:26:23 AM


  9. If we embargo or sanction Nigeria, then why would we not do the same to most oil-rich countries that have the same or worse anti-gay laws. ALmost all Middle Eastern countries with oil have draconian anti-gay laws. Why single out Nigeria?

    Posted by: Javier | Jan 15, 2014 11:43:31 AM


  10. Because they have cheaper oil and we want to balance out potential tensions with China, Brazil, India, and Russia. None of them is particularly gay-friendly, and combined they account for nearly half the world's population.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 15, 2014 11:46:59 AM


  11. @ PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS,

    well said, but many of the commentators who post on African homophobia hate ALL Africans and anything resembling Africans--including Lenny Kravitz.

    @ "AFRICA -WHAT A HELLHOLE."

    OK, Dan. A "hellhole"-- and by exploiting that "hellhole" Western Europe and the Americas achieved wealth they couldn't have imagined.

    Dan, you live well here in the United States (in Virginia, isn't it?). You owe that "hellhole" a debt.


    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 15, 2014 12:00:37 PM


  12. Nigeria is just another society in the grips of PRIMITIVE ISLAM.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 15, 2014 12:58:55 PM


  13. Andrew,

    LOL. How about all that homophobia in Orthodox Christian Russia? How about that homophobia in the United States? You know the country in which LGBT people can be fired for their sexual orientation in the majority of states.

    More importantly, Nigeria is a multi-religion country with a huge Christian population.

    The anti-gay sentiment is strong in most of the United Kingdom's ex-colonies where British anti-gay laws were made into local law and custom.

    Posted by: Victor | Jan 15, 2014 1:22:16 PM


  14. You are right. African Christianity is almost as primitive as Islamic Africa. As the grandson of Irish immigrants, I would love to join you in blaming African Homophobia on British Colonialism. However, the British Empire in Africa ended generations ago. It is time to blame the Africans for their homophobia. You are right that occasionally some gay people in the U.S. lose their jobs for being gay. However, in much of Africa and in the parts of the world dominated by primitive Islam, gays can lose their freedom and sometimes their lives. With some exception, Islam is the greatest threat to human freedom, progress and liberty in the world today. In the Middle Ages it was Catholicism. In the 20th century it was Communism. Today it is Islam.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 15, 2014 2:01:33 PM


  15. I think a total travel ban on Nigerian supporters of this bill and their immediate families to the EU, the UK, the USA, and Canada would be a fine starting point.

    Posted by: Tom in Lazybrook | Jan 15, 2014 2:01:49 PM


  16. @derrick/plays well. it's understandable to be defensive about racism, considering our history, but kneejerk white knighting (so to speak) for africa and putting all blame on white people here looks ridiculous, disconnected from reality and could be argued to be racist as well.

    it's no surprise that africa, among other places: russia, jamaica, islamic countries on the whole, is an antigay nightmare that's getting worse.

    my friend is probably moving back to nigeria to be with her family for a while. dont know if or how i should approach the subject with her. bleh.

    Posted by: jaker | Jan 15, 2014 2:56:21 PM


  17. The fact that the U.S. Government reaches into the pockets of U.S. citizens and takes out $500,000.00 each year and sends it to the oil rich and corrupt government of Nigeria is an OUTRAGE.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 15, 2014 3:40:32 PM


  18. Everyone should check on their government's aid to Nigeria and then call on them to cease all funding to Nigeria no matter who or what the funding is destined for. Canadians - our government, through CIDA alone, contributed $47.85 million to Nigeria between 2011 and 2012 - I couldn't find the most recent figures.

    Posted by: Paul | Jan 15, 2014 4:38:07 PM


  19. @ "...but kneejerk white knighting (so to speak) for africa and putting all blame on white people here looks ridiculous, disconnected from reality and could be argued to be racist as well."

    That's not what I nor PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS DID.

    We simply refuse to ignore history--that's all.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 15, 2014 4:47:17 PM


  20. DAN COBB'S WHITE-SUPREMACIST AMERIKKKA that has and continues to export its disease of homophobia to developing countries in Africa and elsewhere -- WHAT A HELLHOLE.

    Posted by: redball | Jan 15, 2014 10:35:05 PM


  21. Ok it our law and we want it that way.

    You don't hear any nigerian complaining cause it something we want.just same way the usa don't allow polygamy is same way we say we don't need anything gay related in our country.

    And for you talking about aid and sanctions it seems you don't know that nigeria don't depend on aids.afterall it just the politicians that benefit from those aids we nigerians have always wanted those aids cut off because we don't benefit from it.

    And mind you nigeria is an independent state on is own and has the right to make his own laws.

    There are many countries where there are laws like that and I see no reason why the case of nigeria should be different.

    Posted by: naijaboy | Jan 16, 2014 6:29:10 AM


  22. NAIJABOY,

    i'm nigerian too and you are an ignorant azzhole. this is a human rights violation, point blank, PERIOD. good bye.

    Posted by: redball | Jan 16, 2014 7:52:55 AM


  23. i am nigerian, and i seriously oppose same sex marriage. America and the west should look elsewhere, they have no moral perogative whatsoever to correct us. We are not arrogant and selfish hypocrites like them. As much as we know we shortcomings, we are not morally putrid like these western society. Every calamity we suffer today, huge percentage of it is caused by the western world.
    - money laundering to FOREIGN BANKS IN EUROPE AND AMERICA.
    -global warming causing agric problem is MAINLY due to western industrial exploitation.
    - where are professional harlots run to? ITALY, SPAIN...

    Posted by: chika raphael christian | Jan 16, 2014 4:43:19 PM


  24. There are so many countries that are willing to trade with Nigeria

    Posted by: JVD | Jan 17, 2014 5:15:22 PM


  25. Here's an interesting reaction to the issue: http://rebelinthemaking.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/to-all-nigerians

    Posted by: Rebelmade | Jan 20, 2014 8:50:16 AM


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