David Mixner | News | Nigeria | Russia

Where Anti-Gay Laws are Concerned, Nigeria Is No Russia


You bet Nigeria is no Russia. It is much worse than Russia.

JonathanWhile the LGBT community is jumping up and down (as we should be) about Russia, Sochi and the severe repression of Russia's gay community, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has just signed much more repressive legislation against LGBT citizens.

The repercussions of this new law are chilling.

Not only does the law ban marriage equality but also any LGBT relationship. If discovered, gay couples will be sentenced to fourteen years in jail. That is bad enough. However, it also provides for ten years in jail for forming any LGBT organization or supporting the formation of one. The law criminalizes even meetings between homosexuals.

Basically, you can now go to prison in Nigeria for owning an LGBT club, creating a LGBT social organization, supporting or forming an LGBT advocacy organization or simply meeting to discuss LGBT issues. The prison terms are harsh. The prison conditions are shockingly bad.

The odds of an LGBT African being sent to a Nigerian prison for ten to fourteen years and emerging alive are almost nil. Any such sentence is a death sentence.

Africa must be on LGBT Americans' radar screen as much as Russia. The conditions are rapidly deteriorating and tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters are impacted by these draconian laws. Uganda still has pending legislation waiting to be signed by its President that would trump Nigeria and give LGBT Ugandans a life sentence.

Secretary of State John Kerry has lobbied against the new Nigerian laws and quickly expressed America's shock and concern.

Religius_and_Ethnic_map_of_NigeriaWith all the dramatic problems facing Nigeria (including an insurgency that threatens its very existence as a nation state) why would President Jonathan be using political capital to pass and sign such legislation? It is exactly because of the Boko Haram insurgency that the President has signed the law. With his signature, he distracts his Christian followers from his failure to stop Boko Haram in the Islamic northern provinces.

Ironically, the anti-gay law only deepens the division in this frail nation state and in the end won't make a damn bit of difference in the direction of the emerging civil war. Don't be surprise to see political opponents arrested for 'homosexual conduct'.

LGBT Americans must put pressure on the Obama administration to take decisive action against Nigeria and Uganda now, or no nation in Africa will feel there is a price to be paid for these kind of horrific laws directed at LGBT Africans.

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  1. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is considering deporting a Nigerian immigrant back to his home country. Olalekan M Ayelokun is gay. Returning him would be a death sentence. Please sign this change.org petition to state your opposition to the move and bring it to the British government's attention:


    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Jan 14, 2014 12:07:28 PM

  2. PS @JEWEL: You do realize that the Old Testament is nothing but lies written by men 5,000 years ago to bring order and submission on the population? Read Leviticus. The things God would send you to hell for are ridiculous, even by Nigerian standards. I mean, you don't really believe that God would send you to hell for the material in the shirt you wear do you?

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Jan 14, 2014 12:21:16 PM

  3. Thanks Tom in Lazybrook for sharing those levers. They're all great ideas, however unfortunately I don't think any of them will actually be applied...

    Posted by: Polynomialc | Jan 14, 2014 3:00:58 PM

  4. Western countries need to take action against Nigeria and Uganda, which have made worse moves than Russia.

    It's somewhat racist to expect less of these African countries than we expect of Russia. Everyone must be held to the same standard of human rights. (That includes Western countries themselves)

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 14, 2014 3:30:08 PM

  5. Last year, the U.S. gave Nigeria over 600 million in foregin aid. That money can be better used for Americans. Screw um, let that country go to hell. That, and any other barbaric African country. It's time the U.S. stop the lip service and cut the money to these prehistoric baboons.

    Posted by: hank kelly | Jan 14, 2014 5:30:42 PM

  6. What is all the fuss about? Nigeria has passed antigay law. so what? A country is free to pass whatever law they feel is ok to protect their cultural integrity. Western nations have laws that do not allow polygamy afterall, no one is complaining that this is a rights violation to some people whom might want to practice polygamy. In Africa, polygamy is accepted and we do not try to sell it to westerners so why try and sell the Gay rights violation to Africans.

    Posted by: Henry | Jan 14, 2014 8:30:36 PM

  7. Maybe because we aren't KILLING people or imprisoning them for life, Henry???

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Jan 16, 2014 11:46:52 AM

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