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U.S. Ambassador: HIV/AIDS Funding to Nigeria Won't Be Withdrawn in Face of Anti-Gay Law

Financial aid on HIV/AIDS to Nigeria will not change because of the new oppressive anti-gay law recently signed by President Goodluck Jonathan, according to U.S. Ambassador James Entwistle, the Leadership reports:

EntwistleFielding questions from newsmen on whether the US would withdraw its financial aid on HIV/AIDS, the US ambassador said “absolutely not. But we have to look at it very carefully and make sure that everything we do is in compliance with the new law.”

He continued “As you know, we put millions of dollars in the fight against HIV/AIDS. And again, I am not a lawyer; I read the Bill and it seems to me that it may put some restrictions on what we can do to help fight HIV/AIDS in this country. These are the issues we are looking at as we look at the bill.”

Speaking further on the law, he said “the issue of same sex marriage is very controversial all over the world, including my country where 17 states out of 50 have considered it. Some are saying it is not legal. From the issue that we see, and I am speaking as a friend of Nigeria as I read the bill because I am not a lawyer, it looks to me that it puts significant restrictions on the Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Expression and in my opinion especially in advanced democracies, once government begins to say something in these areas, freedom no longer applies. It seems to me that such is a very worrisome precedent.”

According to reports, dozens of suspected gay people have been arrested across Nigeria since the law was signed. Meanwhile, no updates from the U.S. State Department on this since John Kerry's statement of 'concern' shortly after the signing took place.

Olumide Femi Makanjuola, Executive Director at The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER), discussed the Nigerian law in a piece on CNN, specifically mentioning how HIV/AIDS organizations will suffer:

The law also acts against the principle of public health. With rates of HIV infection and AIDS running at 3.7% for the general population, and 17.2% among gay men, criminalizing organizations providing intervention for this population puts all Nigerians in jeopardy.

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Comments

  1. Where would we be, I wonder, if we failed to address worrisome precedents? How many more generations must live & die before the human rights of every single person on the planet are respected?

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Jan 21, 2014 11:35:51 AM


  2. The ambassador is right. You don't cut funding to a program supporting people who are afflicted/suffering from HIV/AIDS because the government of the country being helped is homophobic. You can protest them in other ways.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Jan 21, 2014 11:49:14 AM


  3. I have no problem with aid going to prevent or treat HIV/AIDS, but you, Mr. Ambassador, have a duty to make sure that none of that money is being diverted to other causes.

    Posted by: bkmn | Jan 21, 2014 11:51:55 AM


  4. First, that he thinks this is about "same sex marriage" is concerning.

    But, I think the fight against AIDS is too important to cut off funding.

    Posted by: Daniel | Jan 21, 2014 11:55:20 AM


  5. I DO have a problem with money going to AIDs prevention and believe it should be stopped immediately. Despite the fact that the gay population is the predominate hit here, Nigeria's gay population has to learn very quickly that spreading HIV must be curtailed even if it costs some gay lives. Let it spread throughout the general heterosexual population and that will drive home to the bigoted homophobes that their discriminatory policies must cease and desist immediately. Nigerian gays - take heed, you must protect yourselves in any way you can. The percentage is high because the gay population itself is small compared to the heterosexual population. 2% in the general population is very high and just as alarming as the 17% in the smaller minority gay population. Stop the funding and you'll see Nigeria promptly reverse its stance on gays.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Jan 21, 2014 11:58:58 AM


  6. it will be like the 1980's in the US. AIDS money can't be used to do anything to "promote homosexuality" which includes simply telling gay men to use condoms.

    Posted by: Qj201 | Jan 21, 2014 12:31:09 PM


  7. What is the point of funding a program when the government is thwarting your efforts?

    Further, the state of the epidemic in Nigeria suggests that the funding is ineffective anyway, and is mostly a political gesture.

    Stop wasting money. It's not as if this money couldn't better be spent on US citizens.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 21, 2014 1:36:36 PM


  8. Nigeria keeps boasting about all it's oil money coming in, and about how that means it doesn't have to listen to the developed world. So.... any reason we're giving them a penny for *anything*?

    Posted by: Randal Oulton | Jan 21, 2014 2:36:53 PM


  9. The only reason that Nigeria is a big concern for the US is that it has the world's 7th largest population around 173mil (more than Russia at 143mil) which is what most people in the world don't realize.

    Posted by: Sam | Jan 21, 2014 2:42:40 PM


  10. I don't know what marriage equality has to do with AIDS. During the Aids criss, at its worst. I don't remember marriage Equality being an issue.

    Nigeria needs to know that it cannot suspend fundamental human rights without consequence.
    With their oil revenues Nigeria does not need foreign aid.
    there are other ways western governments can make their fury with these naked bigot laws known.
    Try cancelling landing rights at western airports; try refusing visas to Nigerians seeking to study in the west; try closing a few embassies of Nigeria in the west.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jan 21, 2014 3:10:28 PM


  11. Except that funding has become moot: no man is going to come forward for HIV testing or treatment out of the fear that they will be arrested for presumed homosexuality.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Jan 21, 2014 4:13:22 PM


  12. Our money should NOT be given to countries with oppressive policies. There are too many people suffering in countries without the policies. Most of the HIV/AIDS cases there are straight. If they think gays are so bad, then let the straight people deal with the consequences of their actions.. at least their actions are legal in their country.

    STOP FUNDING NOW.

    Posted by: Steve Talbert | Jan 21, 2014 4:15:07 PM


  13. Some of you people on here are sick. Funding this program helps people suffering from HIV/AIDS and shouldn't matter if those afflicted are gay or straight. They aren't the ones setting their government's policies. Maybe you same people who are complaining should catch a serious disease yourself if that's what it takes to make you more compassionate to other people's suffering.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Jan 21, 2014 5:21:06 PM


  14. Thank you Spacecadet!

    Posted by: Twitdude | Jan 21, 2014 9:17:32 PM


  15. Why does the U.S. send over $500,000,000.00 in aid to the oil rich nation of Nigeria? Why do we send hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to many foreign nations while at the same time neglecting spending the funds necessary to lift our own permanent lower class out of their poverty?

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 21, 2014 10:24:45 PM


  16. Nothing will be done, USA stance on everything! Crap and double crap. So what IS it really about, USA influence which is mocked over and over. And the States simply come back for more graft and killings

    Posted by: L G. | Jan 22, 2014 3:50:28 AM


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