Nigeria loses out on Commonwealth Games

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Glasgow will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it was announced today.

Scotland’s largest city beat a bid from the Nigerian city of Abuja by 47 votes to 24 at a meeting of the Games voting nations in Sri Lanka.

Gay activists in Nigeria had questioned whether that country should be allowed to host the Games because of its “systematic persecution of lesbian and gay Nigerians.”

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond told the BBC: “We will make these games the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen.

“They will be our chance to show the whole world the very best of Scotland.”

In August a delegation led by Davis Mac-Iyalla, founder and leader of the gay Christian group, Changing Attitude Nigeria, met with the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in London to put their case.

They presented the CGF with an 11-page report setting out why it should reject the bid by the Nigerian city of Abuja to host the 2014 Games.

The Commonwealth Games was founded under its original name, the British Empire Games, in 1930.

They are held every four years, giving around 5,000 athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations the chance to compete.

The Commonwealth Games Federation constitution dictates that “there shall be no discrimination against any country or person on any grounds whatsoever including race, colour, gender, religion or politics” in Article 7.

The CGF website also claims that “Underlying every decision made by the CGF are three core values – humanity, equality and destiny.”

Nigerian law directly contradicts this, stating that anyone who has “carnal knowledge of any person against order of nature or permits a male to have carnal knowledge of him” can be imprisoned for 14 years.

“I would love an African country to host the games, but not Nigeria,” said Peter Tatchell, who accompanied Changing Attitude Nigeria when they met with the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

“Awarding Abjua the games would have rewarded bad governance, grave social injustices and the denial of civil rights to millions of Nigerians.

“Nigeria should be offered the 2018 Games, on the condition that

within the next three years it makes serious progress on eradicating corruption, election fraud and human rights violations.”