Nigerian Humanist Movement opposes government move to ban same-sex marriages
3 February, 2006
The Nigerian Humanist Movement has condemned a recent move by the Nigerian government to ban same-sex marriages. On January 18, 2006, the Federal Executive Council approved a bill that prohibits same-sex marriages and relationships. The bill provides for a prison term of up to five years without the option of a fine for anyone who contracts marriage or has a relationship with a person of the same sex, and for anyone who aids or supports in any way a same-sex marriage or relationship.
Nigeria’s Justice Minister Bayo Ojo explains his position, saying that same-sex marriage is "unAfrican and prohibited in the Bible and the Koran."
On the contrary, homosexuality is not unAfrican. Homosexual practice has been going on in Africa for ages. What is really unAfrican is homophobia, not homosexuality. The anti-homosexual attitude is largely based on the Bible and the Koran. Hence, the Church, along with Islamic groups in Africa, has been vehemently opposed to any attempt to recognize the humanity and human rights of gays and lesbians.
It is unfortunate that the debate over gay rights in Nigeria has been marked by a lot of ignorance, prejudice, holy hatred, dogma and religious fanaticism.
The Nigerian Humanist Movement calls for reason, common sense, thoughtfulness, knowledge, love, tolerance, human solidarity, and empathy in all national endeavors. We urge President Obasanjo not to copy the US President George W. Bush, who wants to change the American constitution to make gay marriage unlawful. Nigeria should instead emulate South Africa and make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal.
Nigeria should honor its commitments as a signatory to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents. The Nigerian Humanist Movement is therefore appealing to the honorable members of the National Assembly to reject the bill banning same sex marriage.
Nigeria is a better, freer, more progressive and more democratic nation without this bill.
Nigerian Humanist Movement
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Nigerian Humanists Fight for the Survival of Their Country’s Gay Community
KENILWORTH, 24 APRIL 2006 — A leading Nigerian humanist is courageously standing up for the country’s gay community in the face of his government’s vicious attack on gay rights.
With the blessing of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and its leader, Archbishop Peter Akinola, the government of Nigeria has tabled in parliament one of the world’s most comprehensive and repressive anti-gay laws.
The President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has declared that homosexual practice “is clearly unbiblical, unnatural and definitely unAfrican”.
Leo Igwe , the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, has made an impassioned appeal to members of the Nigerian National Assembly not to pass a Bill that would not only criminalise gay marriage but also impose a five-year jail sentence on anyone who has a gay relationship or anyone who aids or supports a gay marriage or relationship.
Mr Igwe said in his letter: “The Nigerian Humanist Movement calls for reason, common sense, thoughtfulness, knowledge, love, tolerance, human solidarity and empathy.” He called on Nigeria to honour its commitments as a signatory of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents.
George Broadhead, secretary of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, said: “This is probably the most oppressive piece of anti-gay legislation to have been introduced in modern times. We fear for the safety of all gay people in Nigeria, because when this law is implemented it will unleash a deep-rooted and murderous religious-based homophobia. There will be witch-hunts and persecution on a wide scale. We fully support Leo Igwe’s appeal to the Government not to do this, and we call on the United Nations to intervene to protect the human rights of an extremely vulnerable minority.”