Nigerian anti-homosexuality bill: an imperial relic
Following failed attempts in 2006 and 2008, Nigerian lawmakers have resurrected a widely condemned anti-homosexuality bill, due to be heard in the Nigerian Parliament on 31 October. They are desperate to find a scapegoat to rally public support behind them, and the LGBT community provides an easy target. When will they stop discussing who is sleeping with whom and start making laws that would actually move this underdeveloped but oil-rich nation forward?
The legislators who are advancing this bill claim that homosexuality is spreading around the world, and has been imported into Nigeria, whereas, in reality, it is homophobia and sodomy laws that are the foreign imports. They are a colonial legacy, relics from British Empire which have been abandoned in their home country, but many of its ex-colonies still cling to them and persecute LGBT communities.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Domingo Obende, has argued that
“same sex marriage is spreading and spreading round the whole world just like pornography and terrorism which has become the order of the day if not arrested on time.”
Senator Victor Lar added:
“the essence of marriage is for procreation and if we allow same sex there will be no procreation and continuity and we may become the last set of senators and no others to take over from us.”
As the world population passes 7 billion this autumn, it seems unlikely that the spread of homosexuality is having much effect on the birth rate!
The new bill is called “An Act to Prohibit Marriage between Persons of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith”, and it aims to further criminalise same sex relationships and marriage. Under Nigeria’s current criminal and penal codes, consensual same sex conduct between adults is a criminal offence. Homosexuality carries a sentence of fourteen years imprisonment under the criminal code while Sharia law, widely practiced in Northern Nigeria prescribes the death penalty for homosexual conduct.
Many in the Nigerian diaspora disagree though, and you can sign and share a petition against the Bill before it is heard tomorrow.