Nigeria moves ahead with anti-gay bill

2011-12-08 09:01

Abuja - Nigeria's parliament pushed ahead with a bill on Wednesday that would harshly crack down on gay rights despite moves from US President Barack Obama's administration to counter such legislation.

The bill was introduced into Nigeria's House of Representatives on Wednesday after the Senate last week approved the measure that would outlaw gay marriage and ban public displays of affection between homosexual couples.

Gay organisations would also be made illegal, leading some to raise concerns over whether funding channelled through non-governmental organisations in Nigeria for Aids treatment would be put in jeopardy.

A spokesperson for the House of Representatives and a cabinet minister were defiant in the face of Western criticism over the measure.

‘To hell with the US’

"We have a culture. We have religious beliefs and we have a tradition. We are black people. We are not white," said Zakari Mohammed, who is also a lawmaker.

He said same-sex marriage "is alien to our culture and we can never give it a chance. So if (Western nations) will hold their aid to us, to hell with them".

Information Minister Labaran Maku said "we reserve the right to make our laws without apologies to other countries".

On Tuesday, the US put the fight against gay and lesbian discrimination at the heart of its foreign policy, but stopped short of warning transgressor nations they could be stripped of US aid.

Obama ordered all government agencies that play an active foreign policy role to take steps to encourage foreign nations to put a premium on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.


British Prime Minister David Cameron has already warned that his country will consider withholding aid from countries that do not recognise gay rights.

The bill passed by the senate would make same-sex marriages punishable by up to 14 years for the couple and 10 for anyone abetting such unions.

It also sets out a 10-year sentence for "any person who ... directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships".

No debate took place during the introduction of the bill in the House of Representatives on Wednesday and a date has not yet been set for it.

Mohammed vowed lawmakers would proscribe even tougher penalties than those proposed so far. He said "to hell with the super powers if they are for gay marriages."

‘Against our culture’

Maku told reporters after a routine weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday that foreign nations had the right to comment on any Nigerian laws they were unhappy with.

"We live in a democracy, we live in a free country, we live in an independent country," he said, adding "some of the things that are considered fundamental rights abroad ... can be very offensive to African culture."

The house has to vote in favour of the bill before President Goodluck Jonathan ascents to or vetoes the legislation.

Senate President David Mark said last week that if any country was unwilling to "give us aid or assistance just because we want to hold on to our values, that country can keep her aid and assistance".

It was unclear why lawmakers decided a ban was necessary, with gay marriage not known to be prevalent in Nigeria and homosexuals already harshly discriminated against.

  • myniek - 2011-12-08 09:32

    I can't believe this law is going to be passed in's horrific. Freedom of choice and sexual orientation is a basic human right and should be fought for! If this law is passed, and it probably will be, it will be taboo to even speak of same sex relationships in public. Laws like these can only lead to 'freedom from choice', which is no freedom at all.

      Richard - 2011-12-08 09:38

      Freedom of choice is a myth.. Since the government decides what freedom we have it is no longer freedom. There are hundreds of things that we are not allowed to do but because we are allowed to do some things suddenly there is this liberal view of freedom of choice. If you want free choice then go live in the mountain or away from major cities... Even then you are limited to what you can do. 100 years ago homosexuality was considered a sin, yet people weren't complaining about freedom of choice... In fact, I feel that in this day-and-age there is actually less freedom of choice, hence the desire to have more freedom of choice.

      Heiku - 2011-12-08 11:34

      Freedom is a state of mind.

  • rbphiri - 2011-12-08 09:42

    I say let people choose who they want to be, I don't condone homosexuality but I have no problem with it. Nigeria needs to focus on the civil unrest In the country, rather focus on creating a Bill to strength the flawed laws in that country. Once this Bill is effective we may just see an increase of foreign internationals coming into the problem, causing a budget crisis in the country and giving rise to further xenophobic attacks on foreigners and gay activists defending the rights of other homosexuals coming into the country.

  • Shipingana - 2011-12-08 09:45

    I am not gay neither anti gay/lesbian, but agree that they bear from heterosexual relationship, they are not aliens from another planet or animals,they are our brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts, so why not respecting their fundamental human rights as anybody else enjoys it, even animals are protected. At the end of the day we are all humans.

  • Dane - 2011-12-08 09:45

    I can predict the outcome of this.........More refugees/Asylum seekers in SA.

      rbphiri - 2011-12-08 09:56

      Marches with Elton John's music in the background

      Dane - 2011-12-08 11:44


  • Dele - 2011-12-08 10:10

    hello folks, the current anti homosexual law passed in nigeria is not new, they only updated it to include a ban on gay marriages. the anti gay laws in nigeria can be traced back to the colonial constitution inherited from the then british colonial authority. i beleive every country has a right to it's own laws, it's arrogant for you to sit in your country and be critising the laws in far away lands. is it right that saudi arabia is still beheading people for various crimes in today's world?, is it right that america champions democracy but sentences children to prison and still practices executions in some states, is it right that the queen or king of england is never elected by the the people, there by giving so much to one family ad infinitum??....the anti gay laws might be right or wrong either way it's a nigerian problem....let the nation with perfect laws cast the first stone!

      Phoenix - 2011-12-08 10:16

      Yes lets just do nothing and not voice an opinion - ever.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 11:00

      Dele this article is about taking rights away from gay people in Nigeria, when they post an article about all the other things you just mentioned I'm sure there'll be just as many comments. Now be a good boy and maybe later you can have a cookie.

  • john.a.swart - 2011-12-08 10:18

    Compromising on values has led to a deterioration in the attitude of the youth of today to the detriment of society in general. That is an undisputed fact! While I do not reserve the right to "judge" since that is God's job, not mine, there are basic premises set within numerous religious groups that condemn the sanction of homesexual practice in any form whatever. Who is right? The right of an individual to believe the principles of acceptable behavioural principles taught during childhood OR the realistically totally unnatural sexual behaviour by individuals who are psychologically unable to have a normal relationships with the opposite sex? Add to that the statistically proven prevalence of perversion within the "gay community" in comparison to others including the "swingers" and others!!!! I'm not a "gay basher" and I have no intention of beating up gays or anyone else but I hold the opinion that homosexuals need serious help!

      mbossenger - 2011-12-08 10:26

      Why do you say homsexuality is unnatural when it occurs in nature?

      Phoenix - 2011-12-08 10:28

      Nope you just beat them up with words ;) Exactly what help are you proposing here?

      Irene - 2011-12-08 10:49

      And you're not a 'gay-basher'? Could have fooled me. Before you go off on a tirade about perversions being prevalent within the gay community, I suggest you take a good hard look at your 'straight' community and then let us know where the perversion lies!!!! No doubt you also think that every gay man is a paedophile!!! Oh dear but the ignorance is astounding.

      ross.hoffman.fb - 2011-12-08 11:18

      Life must be quite empty to exist as a stereotype. How sad for you. I can only hope that your children receive a better education than you did.

  • joel.mathope - 2011-12-08 10:22

    Gay communities dont have a problem with straight people being straight, why cant they let them be what they want to be, and they claim to be a democratic country shame on them.

      Irene - 2011-12-08 12:13

      rdnaidoo ~ Is that the best you can do because it's so old and corny that it's just not funny anymore? Try thinking of something a bit more original ... you know, something with intelligence. Come on man, I know you can do it!

      mbossenger - 2011-12-08 12:29

      rdnaidoo - for your statement to have any validity, you first need to provide evidence that god exists and that he / she did in fact create adam and eve. I eagerly await your response.

      joel.mathope - 2011-12-08 12:33

      Rdnaidoo, im defending gay communities because u sitting comfortably knowing u straight and society has your backing yet we dont have a clue how gays and lesbians feel, why does their sexual orientation and who they choose to be with bother you so much, are you playing God on earth come on boet.

  • Craig - 2011-12-08 10:24

    "we are not whites..."he says,but he`s arguing with a country who has a man of colour as their president...

  • Paul - 2011-12-08 10:45

    I am sorry, I dont want to turn this into a discourse on religion, but its seems its heading that way. "God who created us ...." That is your view, religion is FAITH, its is just that, its a belief that requires no proof. I respect anybody's right to believe freely. I wonder how the "alh al kitab(people of the book, in arabic)" would feel if we were still feeding them to the lions? I want to know who gives these people the right to tell other people how to love?

      Anwar - 2011-12-08 10:57

      Just out of curiosity Mr Paul.. Do you believe in creation or evolution?

      mbossenger - 2011-12-08 11:05

      Anwar - one does not have to "believe" in evolution. It is based on obervable, testable, repeatable observations.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 11:23

      Finally, some sense in the mire of ignorant bigotry.

      Anwar - 2011-12-08 11:37

      Im just curious.. as MR Paul is saying the Faith requires no proof, but yet it is all around us, down to very fact that you are able to wake up every morning and go about your daily lives.. the problem is we dont look for the prrof of God's existence in everything but we'd rather swallow up some THEORY that we are who we are today because of the evolution of primates or some organism that crwaled out of the sea and magically grew legs.. we live in an everchanging world where environmental, social , economic situation changes.. i dont see people evolving to cope with pollution or people becoming more immune to disease, physical stature evolving to become more resistant to violence in wartorn countries.. Humans have been humans since the beginning of time

      Gideon Smalberger - 2011-12-08 12:04

      @mbosenger prove evolotion show me the missing link you will never find it

      mbossenger - 2011-12-08 12:18

      Gideon - scientific theories are never proven, they are based on evidence. Also, the so-called missing link, forget it - no such thing. Please read up a bit on the subject as you seem to be tragically misinformed about what the theory of evolution actually postulates.

      Gideon Smalberger - 2011-12-08 12:33

      @mbosenger Galapagos,Darwin, ape to man,primordial ooze, life starts as bacteria in the sea ,creatures crawl out blah blah blah. I supose the big bang is also fact....fact is the creation is what it is made by GOD, so powerfull that we mere mortals will never understand it.

  • magnus.ameh - 2011-12-08 11:11

    It is time for all Aficans to realise that the western countries are not God. we are stronger than them if we hold unto our Devine values, for righteosness exalt a nation but sin is a reproach to any people

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 11:29

      ... and your "devine values" have made Africa the safest continent in the world. Proof is in the pudding buddy - not so devine after all hey.

      Anakin - 2011-12-08 12:20

      What is "righteosness"? Do you mean "righteousness"?

  • Mtizozo - 2011-12-08 11:26

    People should live the may they want, if you born gay live gay, if you born un gay live ungay, Why they is still a comfusion about gay people?

  • ross.hoffman.fb - 2011-12-08 11:29

  • ludlowdj - 2011-12-08 11:30

    every country has the right to self determination and legal structure. No-one has the right to dictate to another government, that right sits with its own people. Nigeria is within its rights, and gays are free to seek other living arrangements, hell the US is already hinting it will give Gays special immigration rights.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 11:42

      What if they can't afford to immigrate or they don't pass the required skills points - they should then live in misery or in jail? What an ignorant statement. I think other countries have a right to boycott those countries that undermine basic human rights. Besides - you should thank the gay community for not adding to over population and adopting all the unwanted babies discarded by so-called moral and ethical religious people.

      Irene - 2011-12-08 12:01

      If this is the case why were their sanctions during the apartheid years? So much for self-determination and legal structure etc. etc. Makes you think doesn't it?

  • bmaestro - 2011-12-08 11:43


      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 11:54

      Anwar, I think you need to read more. A simple 5 second Google: Many gays and lesbians believe that their orientation is caused by their genes; they beleive that their orientation is normal, natural, unchosen and unchangeable. With the exception of one small religious association of therapists, the vast majority of human sexuality researchers and mental health therapists accept that the root cause of homosexual orientation is genetic. The data seems to show that a small minority of individuals -- perhaps 10% -- have a "gay gene" or sequence of "gay genes." However, the gene is only expressed in perhaps 55% of those individuals, as a result of some unknown factor in the environment. In the remainder, it remains dormant and the person matures as a heterosexual.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 12:02

      @rdnaidoo - just proves how little you've read. It is genetically provable. Go Google it fool.

      Irene - 2011-12-08 12:03

      Anwar ~ You're just plain stupid. Sorry, but there is no other way of putting it. S-T-U-P-I-D and on top of that you talk about things you know nothing of. Shame on you.

      Irene - 2011-12-08 12:04

      rdnaidoo ~ Your sheer ignorance is a state of mind too. Much like your belief in God, nothing but a state of mind.

      mbossenger - 2011-12-08 12:13

      So Anwar, when did you choose be be heterosexual?

  • Moi - 2011-12-08 11:55

    It's rather tragic and at the same time terrifying, to see how many South Africans are anti-gay/homophobic.

  • Paul - 2011-12-08 11:55

    "These days people who are completely immoral have more rights than people with morals and values. Everything is pro prostitution, pro pornography, pro dagga, pro homosexuality.... (I'm going to get so many dislikes for this comment but I couldn't care!)." Nobody forces you to do anything, if you don't want to see porn, don't look, if you don't want to hire a whore, don't. If you don't want to kiss a man(or woman), don't. You want the right to have your own beliefs, but you wont respect other. Remember when people like you were fed to the lions??? I am sorry, what gives you the right to tell other people how to live? PS, my personal views of religion are just that, personal. I wish other people would so the same and let society function on a basis or respect for each others freedoms to believe/love. If I believe in a old jewish story, that tells that the whole universe was created in 6 rotations of our planet or not, is not part of a human rights discussion.

      rdnaidoo - 2011-12-08 12:01

      Paul, I agree on the Old Jewish Story. This is not about religon. We need to keep to the topic discussed.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 12:03

      Well said sir.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 12:13

      ROFL! Only a matter of time before some religious nutter brought out the hell and damnation card. Clap Clap. Well done Caaqil.

  • Paul - 2011-12-08 12:02

    "No one is born gay.. its a myth. Who thinks up this nonsense!!" Really Anwar? On that basis, you choose to be str8? Please tell us about that moment, when you made that choice. You thought about being gay, but decided it wasn't for you? What was it like?

      Anwar - 2011-12-08 12:11

      it was a glorius day when i was taught right from wrong and chose the right people to be around

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 12:17

      Hahaha again, well said. The blatant ignorance of some people leaves me wondering if there's any hope for society as a whole. Thank God for high IQ's and a sense of humour, or we'd all be doomed right back to 13th century.

      mbossenger - 2011-12-08 12:25

      It will be a glorious day when you realise some of the crap you were indoctrinated with.

  • rdnaidoo - 2011-12-08 12:10

    aardvarkie - Sientest can proove anything as long as it is not natural. You need to read not only in your spare time but more especially throughout the day. It may help with that low key IQ of yours understanding a great debate.

      mbossenger - 2011-12-08 12:15

      Scientists don't prove anything, it's called evidence. Proof is for mathematics and alcohol.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-08 12:31

      Actually I found out my IQ is just over 170 so although I'm not a genius I know that being gay is a genetic and biological conundrum where the brain might be male but the body is female, or vice verse. I have a personal library, ranging from Yung and Aristotle to modern Neuropsychology and historical books on various religions and cultures. I'm well read enough to know that an idiot savant such as yourself isn't worth the effort and energy expended by my vastly superior brain, unless you would pay me per hour, to educate you on the finer nuances of a knowledgeable and compassionate life such as mine.

      joel.mathope - 2011-12-08 12:48

      I think you need help

  • rdnaidoo - 2011-12-08 12:29

    Irene - What you fail to understand ids that this is a debate of great minds who argue a point regardless of what the facts may or may not be. If you cant handle thee responses I suggest you leave the debate, Baas!

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