Activist fights for Nigeria’s gay community

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A Nigerian human rights activist is standing up for the country’s gay community in the face of his government’s negative laws on gay rights.

With the blessing of the Nigerian Anglican Church and its leader, Archbishop Peter Akinola, the government of Nigeria has tabled in parliament one of the world’s most comprehensive and “oppressive piece of anti-gay legislation.”

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 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.”